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Leadership training is a must

Commentary: Trans Progressive

Masen Davis

What I believe we can’t have enough of is leadership training for our young, as well as our older, newly-out future leaders in the LGBT community. And, given that the only national LGBT non-profit organization with a trans person at the helm is OutServe-SLDN, more leadership training to develop and prepare more trans people to take larger and larger leadership roles in the LGBT civil rights movement seems a must.

For six years, the California Transgender Leadership Summit has been held up and down the state – half of the summits held in Northern California, and half in Southern California.

This year’s summit at U.C. Berkeley, the seventh, saw it renamed simply as the Transgender Leadership Summit, and was held Nov. 9 -11.

According to Transgender Law Center Executive Director Masen Davis, “We’re still building a movement to transition California, but we’re also broadening out and doing a partnership with the Trans Advocacy Network this year, bringing in local and state leaders from throughout the country to build skills, share information and build a stronger movement for trans equality nationwide.”

Sponsors of the summit included Google, AT&T, Gap Inc., Sempra Energy, Comcast, The Southern California Gas Company, Fenton Communications, Macy’s, Estrada Land Planning, The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, The Bob Ross Foundation, The Evelyn & Walter Hass Jr. Fund, Balif (an LGBT bar association), Archer Norris, Arnold & Porter, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and well known trans community surgeon Marci L. Bowers.

The diversity of sponsoring corporations and organizations demonstrates not only how far the concept of trans equality has permeated into progressive thought, but it also indicates how mainstream the idea of equality for trans people is becoming.

Some of the topics in the summit’s workshops included Media Activism and Training, Successful Strategies in Support of the Passage of Trans Laws, How to Make Local Policy Change, Fostering Youth Leadership Though Social Media and Fundraising for Trans Organizations. There was a clear focus on training trans people to actively “build a stronger movement for trans equality nationwide.”

Participation guidelines for the summit included one that should apply outside the summit:

“No Assumptions: Transgender and gender non-conforming communities are incredibly diverse in identity and expression. Please don’t make assumptions about people’s identity or pronoun usage. If you are uncertain about someone’s’ identity or pronouns, please politely ask rather than making assumptions.”

And, as is often seen at summits, conventions and events where trans people are public participants, the participation guidelines spelled out a gender neutral bathroom policy:

“Bathroom Policies: The Transgender Leadership Summit is a place where we model the change we want to see in the world. One of the places our communities experience oppression is in bathrooms. Because of this, we have gender neutral bathrooms through the summit space. Please let us know right away if you experience any trouble using the restrooms.”

And by the way, the Transgender Law Center is hiring. They’re looking for a new, full time Project Health program manager. This staff member will manage all operations, including fiscal management and administrative functions of Project Health. And, Project Health is a multi-faceted, state-wide, medical-legal program that seeks to improve healthcare access for transgender communities.

Times are changing, and the transgender community is growing. There were more than 400 attendees at this year’s summit.

And who knows, the next nationwide LGBT community non-profit executive director may have been in attendance, receiving training. There’s a progressive thought.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=31389

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012. Filed under Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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