Blog – Capital Pride (Lack of) Progress Report 2018

Despite lip service, “community forums,” and a stated desire to work with the community, Capital Pride’s lack of substantive change extends its legacy of neglecting marginalized communities into 2018. All signs indicate that Capital Pride 2018 will once again celebrate weapons manufacturers, corrupt banks, and police departments, aligning itself with those who profit off of the oppression of the most marginalized members of our communities.

In May 2017, prior to the 2017 Pride parade actions, No Justice No Pride presented a set of demands to the Capital Pride Alliance. Created in coalition with local grassroots organizations, these demands sought to address Capital Pride’s neglect of historically marginalized* trans and queer people. Further, the demands offered a way for Capital Pride to end its complicity - primarily through its partnerships with harmful corporate entities and law enforcement agencies - with systems of oppression that target trans and queer people.

The demands emerged after members of No Justice No Pride attended board meetings, a “community forum” with Capital Pride, and met one-on-one with some of its board members. Despite being told that our concerns were being “heard,” Capital Pride took no substantive actions and made no policy changes prior to the 2017 parade. No Justice No Pride took action, blocking the parade at multiple points, in order to get Capital Pride to agree to implement our demands. Though representatives of Capital Pride refused to agree to any of our demands on the spot, this kicked off a (very slow) process of negotiation between No Justice No Pride and Capital Pride.

In early April, we gave Capital Pride’s leadership a survey, asking them to indicate any areas of progress. It also included a request for demographic information about the board’s makeup, and asked them to identify any new policies that had been put in place. Capital Pride declined to complete the survey, instead sending us an email vaguely addressing some of the questions. Capital Pride’s responses are included below. All quotes are from an email sent by Board President Ashley Smith on April 15, 2018.

We are sharing this information in the interest of transparency. We want to make sure the community knows what changes have been made, and what still needs to be addressed. Draw your own conclusions, but ours are clear: Capital Pride has yet to do much of anything to address its shortcomings. As we’ve said before, Capital Pride can and must do better.

Demand #1: Centering Trans Women of Color

Capital Pride will honor the legacy of Pride and the trans women of color who inspired it by ensuring that trans women of color play a central role in decision-making processes. Further:

  • Capital Pride's executive board will include a paid position for a trans woman of color with deep connections to DC's trans community. A DC Native is preferred.
  • Capital Pride will consult and listen to the needs of trans women of color to ensure that Pride is safe and accessible to trans women of color and that it does not erase their historic role in the birth of pride.

Capital Pride Response:

"Capital Pride Alliance had open call for Board Members and several new members joined our team. Our Board now has a greater diversity and representation of our community to include new Trans members, Women and members of the POC Community. And we have increased the number of board members, which falls in line with our bylaws and allows for greater inclusion of thoughts and voices from all parts of our community."

Our Take: We didn’t ask for “diversity” - we asked for representation and equity. Adding new people to a board without asking those on the board who have disproportionately been overrepresented to step aside is not enough. Further, from what we can tell, Capital Pride does not have trans women of color in leadership positions, nor do they offer any sort of compensation for board members, making it difficult for marginalized communities to take on these roles.

Demand #2: Stop Celebrating the Police

Capital Pride will take a strong position against state violence and end its endorsement of MPD and other law enforcement agencies. This will happen by:

  • No longer allowing MPD or any other law enforcement agency to march in the Pride parade.
  • Committing to scale back police presence at all Capital Pride events.
  • Barring from participation in its festivities recruiters from any local, state, and federal law enforcement department or agency.

Capital Pride Response:

“We will be working with MPD on their presence during our events. This has been an ongoing dialogue and will continue to be.”

Our Take:  DC’s policing crisis is not getting better. As MPD use of force increases, and the department fails to report its stop-and-frisk data, further evading accountability, it is unacceptable for Capital Pride to uncritically embrace and celebrate the police. No Justice No Pride joined forces with Stop Police Terror Project to meet with Capital Pride earlier this year and provide them an overview of the NEAR act and what they can do to address DC’s policing crisis. Capital Pride knows the facts and they acknowledge the problem. It’s time for them to take a stand.

Demand #3: Address Neglect of Native Communities

Capital Pride will address its neglect of native, indigenous and two-spirit communities. Capital Pride will make this happen by:

  • Creating a paid managerial position within Capital Pride reserved for a native or indigenous leader (Preferably of the Piscataway nation.)
  • Officially and publicly recognize that Capital Pride takes place on Piscataway land and make a formal commitment to work with indigenous and two spirit communities.

Capital Pride Response: [None]

Our Take: Though they included the phrase “two-spirit” in their official 2018 pride graphics, Capital Pride’s complete silence on these issues is telling and confirms that we must continue to take action to support two-spirit and Native members of our communities.

Demand #4: Restructure the Board

Capital Pride will commit to restructuring, replacing and expanding its board of directors to represent and center the leadership of historically marginalized* communities. This will happen by:

  • Replacing the executive board with people who are open to feedback, accountable to the community, and representative of marginalized communities.
  • The executive board will include trans people of color (binary and non-binary inclusive), queer and trans DC natives, queer and trans youth, bisexuals, individuals with disabilities and indigenous and two spirit individuals.
  • Capital Pride will immediately begin the process of creating a transparent and democratic process for selecting board members.
  • Capital Pride will create an outreach committee that regularly meets with local trans and queer people of other intersecting marginalized identities

Capital Pride Response:

“Capital Pride Alliance had open call for Board Members and several new members joined our team. Our Board now has a greater diversity and representation of our community to include new Trans members, Women and members of the POC Community. And we have increased the number of board members, which falls in line with our bylaws and allows for greater inclusion of thoughts and voices from all parts of our community.

Our Board Leadership team has changed and diversified from years past to include a POC as the President of the Board and a woman to the leadership team.

Within our Board structure, we have also re-engaged the committees of our Board to ensure we are increasing the work we do around community engagement and creating an environment of Board engagement on all levels, while being accountable to our community and fellow Board members.

Our Volunteer Leadership structure was restructured to further include those leading our events with the announcement of Chairs for our premier events and these leadership roles are all members of a diverse background to include POC, women and Trans leaders.”

Our Take: To be fair, Capital Pride did ask the board member who referred to us last year as “terrorists” to resign. But other than that, their changes in structure have been minimal. We are encouraged to see a new president and new faces on the board, but we still do not feel that our communities are adequately represented by Capital Pride. Capital Pride declined to respond to our questions about the board’s specific demographic makeup, and has yet to release its bylaws or any details about the way that board members are selected. Further, there are no indications that intentional outreach was done with underrepresented communities - and barriers to participation, such as lack of compensation and donation requirements remain intact. Diversity is important, but without having those who have been historically overrepresented on the board step aside, we’re unlikely to see significant improvement in Capital Pride’s operations.

Demand #5: Cut Ties with Harmful Corporate Sponsors

Capital Pride will bar corporate entities that inflict harm on historically marginalized LGBTQ2S people from participation in Pride events. This will happen by:

  • Barring all industries that profit from war, detention and incarceration, environmental destruction, evictions, community displacement and Israel's oppression of Palestinians from participation in Capital Pride events.
  • Restricting all corporate branding and signage in future Capital Pride events.
    Creating transparent and robust standards for screening corporations that wish to support Capital Pride.
  • Immediately cutting ties with Wells Fargo, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Leidos, Northrop Grumman, and any other defense contractors. Transfer Capital Pride funds to an account with a local credit union.
  • Immediately cut ties with Wells Fargo and defense contractors and donate any and all funds from them to local community based organizations that support queer, trans, two-spirit and Muslim communities.

Capital Pride Response:

“Via Community Forums with community partners including a member from NJNP, we have looked closely at our sponsorship guidelines and we do plan to share our guidelines with the community in the coming weeks. The new guidelines will be in effect moving forward into our next Pride Season. However, the work will begin immediately as the sponsorship process takes place all year long.”

Our Take: Soon after the parade last year, Capital Pride claimed it would be developing sponsorship guidelines. This process was extremely slow, and we are not surprised that Capital Pride will not be implementing any new standards for 2018. NJNP did participate in one “community forum,” which was discouraging to say the least. Capital Pride’s proposed “guidelines” - as we know them - require sponsors to score at least 70% on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (which is deeply problematic) and not be listed as an SPLC-designated hate group. We ran the numbers: these guidelines will not exclude any existing sponsors. Further, these discussions have refused to engage which the specific reasons that we asked for certain sponsors to be excluded, namely, the fact that they profit off of private prisons, war, and environmental destruction and native genocide.

Overall: Not Much Has Changed at Capital Pride

It’s safe to say we are not pleased with Capital Pride’s lack of progress. No substantive changes have been made to address the concerns of those who feel they have been left behind and pushed out of pride. In this political climate, Capital Pride’s insistence on continuing business as usual is unacceptable. Based on this lack of progress, it is difficult to imagine they have any real intention of addressing the issues the community has identified. No Justice No Pride will continue to push for these and other changes so that pride can be something we are actually proud of.

Free the #BlackPride4

Free the #BlackPride4

State Repression and the Fight for Liberation in LGBT Spaces

February 12, 2018

The trial has concluded for the #BlackPride4; protestors who, with Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus and in solidarity with #NoJusticeNoPride, took direct action on June 17th of last year to disrupt the pride parade in Columbus—the second largest pride celebration in the Midwest.

The direct action by the Black Pride 4 sought to draw attention to “the violence against and erasure of black and brown queer and trans people, in particular the lack of space for black and brown people at pride festivals,” and to highlight the disproportionately high number of trans women of color that had been murdered already, only six months into 2017.

For peacefully protesting police violence in a city whose Division of Police killed at least 28 people (21 of whom were black) since 2013 and is facing over two dozen lawsuits, many of which are for civil rights violations, Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton, and DeAndre Antonio Miles-Hercules were arrested on charges including aggravated robbery, resisting arrest, causing harm to a police officer, failure to comply with a police officer’s order, and disorderly conduct. Bail was originally set at $100,000.

As of Monday, February 12, the trial has ended and the Black Pride 4 are awaiting a verdict.

During the trial, Stonewall Columbus, the organization responsible for coordinating Columbus pride- and whose name invokes the historic protest led by trans folks of color against police harassment - had the audacity to testify against the Black Pride 4.

The fact that these flimsy, politically-motivated charges even made it to a trial is disturbing, and demonstrates the significant obstacles faced by those seeking to undo the larger LGBT movement’s collusion with systems of White supremacy, state violence, and predatory capitalism. Further, the arrest and prosecution of activists exercising their right to protest at a pride parade makes clear the ways in which the most privileged members of the LGBT community have successfully aligned themselves with the interests of the state in pursuit of protection from the very agents of state violence whose harassment of trans and queer people of color gave birth to protests that evolved into pride “celebrations.”

LGBT spaces should be spaces that value and make room for the most marginalized members of our communities and encourage and support acts of resistance like those carried out by the #BlackPride4. Not spaces where activists are criminalized and attacked for speaking out.

Organizations that choose to name themselves after the Stonewall Riots should be supporting trans and queer people of color in their fight against police violence, not testifying against them. This is a desecration of the legacy of our ancestors.

The #BlackPride4 took action to draw attention to the violence and erasure of black and brown trans and queer folks within LGBT spaces. The fact that their actions were met with criminalization, violence, and laughter from white onlookers is a testament to the urgency of their message. Like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera before them, the #BlackPride4 are the latest in the trans and queer tradition of those who are most vulnerable and marginalized within our communities putting themselves on the line in pursuit of liberation for us all.

No Justice No Pride sends love and power to the #BlackPride4. Ya’ll should too.

Pushing Back Against WMATA’s New Policies Targeting Low-Income Riders

Save Our System Coalition Distributes Free SmartTrip Cards In Protest of WMATA’s New Policies Targeting Low-Income Riders

Eliminating Negative Balances and Cracking Down on Fare Evasion Will Hurt Black and Brown Communities, Low income Riders Most, Coalition Says

January 7, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC - The Save Our System Coalition is taking action Monday, January 8th to draw attention to the negative impact of WMATA’s decision to do away with its long-standing Minimum Balance Policy and its heightened fare enforcement activities that disproportionately target low-income communities, namely black lifelong DC residents.
The coalition, which includes local organizations No Justice No Pride, Black Lives Matter DC, Americans for Transit and Future is Feminist, will be holding a press conference and rally on Monday, January 8th at 4 PM at the Anacostia Metro Station. The group takes aim at WMATA’s decision to remove their long standing Minimum Balance Policy in an effort to regain “lost revenue.” 
“WMATA’s new ‘No Negative Balance’ policy oppresses and criminalizes marginalized people. It’s now coming to a point where people have to decide if they are going to spend money on food and rent or on fare for SmartTrips,” said Dornethia Taylor, of Black Lives Matter DC and a lead organizer for the event.
“These policies only serve to make Metro more inaccessible to those who need access to public transportation most. Undermining access to public transportation will only worsen the racial and economic divides that plague our city, while distracting the public from the real fare evaders looting the system,” said Tracye Redd of Black Lives Matter DC and a lead organizer for the event.
WMATA has lost $25 million over a period of 17 years, and the system needs at least $500 million additionally a year to sustain itself. The coalition maintains that if WMATA is serious about recouping lost funds they should be focusing on developers profiting off of real estate projects around Metro stops.
“Premium property owners and developers are reaping huge rewards from building near Metro, but for some reason we aren’t even asking them to pay a little bit of it back to support the system,” said Emmelia Talarico, Senior Organizer for the Save Our System Coalition and Chair of No Justice No Pride’s Steering Committee.
“Sloppy policy changes, high fares, service cuts and other anti-rider initiatives that inevitably result in the criminalization of low income communities and targeting those who are already struggle to pay metro fares is the wrong way for WMATA to address their ongoing funding crisis,” added Talarico. 
In addition, the coalition wishes to call attention to other harmful policies such as FareShare and WMATA’s heightened enforcement of fare evasion in recent months.
“Eliminating the Negative Balance policy while fare boxes and exit fare machines still only take cash is a short sighted move,” Tracye Redd added. “Metro is already targeting those who can’t pay metro fare with hundreds of dollars in fines or arrest. Now, we fear riders will literally be trapped in the system. Bus drivers will be forced to leave riders without cash behind, even if they need transportation to get to an ATM.”
“Ultimately this will increase disputes over fares, making Metro even more unsafe, especially for black and brown communities, already targeted by Metro police,” said Talarico. 
“If anyone can help us get more SmartTrips to give out please donate to,” added Dornethia Taylor, of Black Lives Matter DC.
Who: Members of the Save Our System Coalition - Americans For Transit, Black Lives Matter DC, No Justice No Pride and Future is Feminist
What:  Press Conference, Rally and Fare Card Give-Away
Where: Anacostia Metro Station - 1101 Howard Rd SE Washington, DC
When: Monday, January 8th, starting at 4PM
Timeline: Rally and Give Away starts at 4PM, Press Conference to begin at 4:30PM and Speakers to Start at 5.
Press inquiries may be directed to [email protected] 
For more background on these polices, getting dedicated Metro funding and who the real fare evaders are:
For more info on the Rally:
Black Lives Matter DC is a collective of organizers, activists, and artists in DC who work to combat anti-blackness and racialized oppression in all of its manifestations as experienced by Black and African diasporic people.
No Justice No Pride (NJNP) is a collective of organizers and activists from across the District of Columbia. We exist to fight for trans justice and to end the LGBT “equality” movement’s complicity with systems of oppression that further marginalize Trans and Queer individuals. Our members are black, brown, queer, trans, gender nonconforming, bisexual, indigenous, two-spirit, formerly incarcerated, disabled, and white allies. Together we recognize that there can be no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.
The Future is Feminist is an organizer collective dedicated to smashing the patriarchy, seizing body autonomy for all, fighting for economic justice, and centering the voices of trans and gender non-conforming folks and people of color.
Save Our System is a coalition powered by riders, community based organizations, grassroots groups, small businesses, workers, unions and others who have had enough with WMATA's neglect for their riding public. We know the system can be better, fairer and more reliable. Metro is our lifeline to the city

What No Justice No Pride Built in 2017


Since its inception in February, NJNP has been working tirelessly to build the future we want.

December 23, 2017

Photos 1, 3, 4, 5, 8 Credit: Dylan Comstock. Photo 9 Credit: #byCHuBBz.

As 2017 comes to a close, join No Justice No Pride (NJNP) in fighting for the rights of ALL trans and queer people, because there can be no pride for some without liberation for all!

Since its inception in February, NJNP has worked tirelessly to support trans and queer organizing in the District of Columbia and build community and solidarity with our chapters and allied groups both nationally and internationally. In the Trump era, as trans and queer folks (especially those who are black, brown, Muslim, migrants, Native, and/or disabled) face continued attacks, we know that effective resistance to violence against us depends upon demanding more from those who claim our voices, profit from our traumas, and ignore the lived violence faced by our communities.

In the face of these injustices - in conjunction with supporting the work of our local, national, and international partners - we have formed two primary programs, but need your help to sustain the work!

As the once radical LGBTQ+ movement was consolidated into the non-profit industrial complex, Gay Inc. formed and continues to tirelessly work to assimilate itself into mainstream cis-hetero systems of power that depend upon white supremacy, patriarchy, settler colonialism, and other systems of oppression.

Photo: #ByCHuBBz

This shift is visible in Pride, and here in DC and around the world, what was once a call to action for the liberation of our entire community has become a hodgepodge of corporate and state-sponsored interests directed by the most privileged members of our larger community. In response to Capital Pride’s complicity with systems of oppression and its continued refusal to reflect the interests of the larger community, activists and organizers from across the District of Columbia came together and formed what is now NJNP to demand that Capital Pride respect our communities and return Pride to its radical roots.

Since Pride, we organized a march and direct action in October to protest the Human Rights Campaign’s decision to honor Wells Fargo at its National Dinner, in spite of the grave human rights abuses its committed

While we have continued to talk to Capital Pride and demand more of them since our actions in June, they still avoid addressing our demands. In 2018, we will continue this pressure, create alternatives to their pro-corporate and pro-state celebrations, and fight to make Pride a safe space for ALL trans and queer communities.

Recognizing the continued marginalization and violence that hurts and kills trans people - especially trans women and especially trans women of color - we began a campaign in July 2017 to fight for against transmisogyny and help protect and support trans people in the District of Columbia - the city with the largest recorded per capita population of trans folks in the U.S. In 2017, a year with the highest identified number of trans folks killed, we wrote a petition to DC officials and we demanded:

  1. The City immediately reviews compliance of administrative and front line staff in all city District of Columbia government agencies with the District’s “Gender Identity or Expression” legal protections for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals, and ensure that all staff are adequately trained to adhere to these standards.
  2. The City ends its practice of incarcerating trans people of color, particularly young people. In place of this practice, the City will create a diversion program that provides services to trans people living on the margins, who by necessity are often forced to participate in underground economies. Further:
    1. The City de-prioritize arrests for solicitation and other related offenses;
      The City expand access to Crime Victims Compensation Programs (CVCP) so that victims of a crime who engage in sex work can comfortably report the crime and seek legal remedy without facing charges related to their means of employment;
    2. The City fully decriminalize sex work by the year 2019.
  3. Mayor Bower fulfills her campaign promises to the District of Columbia’s trans and queer populations by:
    1. Addressing hate crimes that target trans and queer communities, particularly in cases where said crimes are committed by officers or other employees of the Metropolitan Police Department, who in committing such crimes break their oaths to protect and defend the citizens of the District of Columbia. In such cases, even while evidence is being collected, the perpetrator shall be immediately removed from duty and the Metropolitan Police Department shall cooperate fully and transparently with the victim’s communities in order to ensure due process during such investigations;
    2. Designing and implementing a cross-agency strategy whose purpose is to identify and reduce violence directed towards trans and queer persons, especially young people and community members of color;
    3. Providing a thorough and transparent report on what the Bowser Administration is doing to reduce the harassment of trans and queer youths in their schools, in their homes, and on the streets.
  4. The City forms a task force of trans and queer community leaders and experts of color to be consulted for their input and guidance as the city develops and sustains programs and policies that support these communities. Members of this community task force must not in any way be affiliated with the Government of the District of Columbia or the Metropolitan Police Department.

Mayor Bowser hasn’t done much to address our concerns, despite the fact that we shut down the street in front of her offices while launching our campaign and the 1,000+ signatures we’ve gathered from local supporters.

Nonetheless, we’ve begun achieving the goals outlined in our petition ourselves. We have joined two coalitions that will help us make key parts of our vision of trans justice a reality. The first is the Sex Worker Advocate Coalition (SWAC), which helped introduce a bill in DC that would decriminalize sex work and make the city drastically safer for sex workers, who in DC are disproportionately trans women of color. We have also joined a coalition to work to pass the Street Harassment Prevention Act of 2017 (SHPA); a bill that would require trans competency trainings of all city employees and help to ensure that all city employees receive thorough training to ensure they are in compliance with the District’s stated commitment to ending discrimination based on gender identity.

So far, NJNP has applied for and received a grant to support this work and has allocated much of what we received to support outreach for SHPA. With your support, NJNP will play a critical role organizing District-wide outreach, public education, and canvassing to generate public support for both of these bills that would make life safer for many trans folks.

In 2018, we also plan to step up our fundraising game in order to expand our trans justice campaign to address housing and employment inequities and migrant justice.

From its inception, No Justice No Pride has rejected notions of clearly defined “trans and queer issues.” As Audre Lorde once said, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” For this reason - and also to support a thriving grassroots organizing community in the District - NJNP also provides critical support to a variety of local and national coalitions working to advance visions of racial, economic, and immigrant justice. These include:

  • The coalition to free the #BlackPride4 (led by BQIC in Columbus)
  • Save Our System, contributing to the ongoing work of ensuring no one is criminalized for not being able to afford public transit and making the system safe and accessible to trans and queer communities.
  • The Justice for Terrence Sterling coalition seeking justice for Terrence Sterling, who was brutally murdered by MPD in September 2016

No matter what happens, 2018 will be a big year for NJNP. With increased funds, we hope to finally move away from being an organization led by volunteers to being an organization that can pay its trans and queer leaders a living wage. Our funding is finite, but our ideas and vision are infinite.

Supporting No Justice No Pride means supporting radical grassroots organizing led by trans and queer leaders. It means supporting a resistance movement outside of the stagnant and limited nonprofit industrial complex. It means ensuring that the radical vision of trans and queer liberation embodied by our ancestors lives on.

This past year has been trying. But despite the current climate of increasing state repression and violence, attacks on the most marginalized communities, and the dismantling of social safety nets, we believe these shifts represent the last stand of an oppressive minority struggling to maintain its power. We believe we are closer than ever to the type of transformation necessary to bring about radical and restorative justice for those at the margins.

This transformation will be led by trans women of color.

In Solidarity,

The NJNP Steering Committee
(Emmelia, Ntebo, Ale, Drew, Britt and David)

Fighting Back Against DC’s Marginalization of Trans Women

Another World Is Possible

Fighting Back Against DC’s Marginalization of Trans Women

July 13, 2017

WASHINGTON — Following their direct action at last month’s Capital Pride parade, No Justice No Pride, a coalition of local trans and queer organizers, activists and community-based organizations, took to the the streets once again on the evening of July 13. The rally and march, entitled, “All Out For Trans Women: When Under Attack, We Fight Back!” kicked off at Freedom Plaza, where where local activists and organizers shared testimony about the consequences of Washington, D.C.’s severe neglect of trans women of color. Following the rally, the group took to the streets and marched to MPD headquarters.

“No Justice No Pride is here today because since our inception we promised to fight for the most marginalized members of D.C.’s trans and queer community,” said Emmelia Talarico, chair of No Justice No Pride’s steering committee. We’re tired of the symbolic support we see for the LGBT community during Pride never translating into real concrete action to address the ongoing crisis faced by trans women in our city. All the cops, politicians, and corporations that were so eager to march in the Pride parade are nowhere to be found when we need them most.”

Thursday’s action came just days after two brutal attacks on trans women in D.C., from which the victims, both Black trans women, are still recovering.

“We have heard too many failed promises from the D.C. government,” said Lourdes Ashley Hunter, a No Justice No Pride coalition partner and executive director of Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC ). “Trans women of color are disproportionately impacted by state sanctioned violence which is inextricably linked to the brutality we face on the streets. If the Mayor can find two million dollars for the Gay Games, surely there is money in this city to house and support the dreams of homeless trans youth.”

Hunter added, “We have heard too many failed promises from D.C. government who seemed to be solely focused on interests of the LGBT politically connected elite who continue bathe in the blood of black trans women while cloaked in silence and respectability. How can D.C. call itself a ‘sanctuary city’ when Black trans women are not safe to walk down the street or in their own homes?”

Ms. Hunter also cited a report by the DC Trans Coaltion, stating that 55% of Black trans Washingtonians report being unemployed compared to just 9% of Washington, D.C.’s non trans residents. Trans women of color face the greatest economic hardships with 57% making below $10,000 annually. 39% of Black trans people are currently homeless and 43% of those experiencing homelessness are living with HIV. Black trans women in our Nation’s Capital have an HIV rate of 75%. “This is our everyday reality. How can we expect to live whole lives if we cannot access opportunities to sustain ourselves, raise a family and build a legacy.”

“Since 2006, D.C.’s Human Rights Act has included protections against discrimination based on gender identity, but we’re still hearing regular accounts of trans women being misgendered, denied services, and harassed — often by city employees,” said Emmelia Talarico. “Mayor Bowser campaigned on promises to make the city safer and more supportive for the trans community and Chief of Police Newsham has publicly stated that he’s seeking to regain our community’s trust. Where is the follow through?”

Currently, all government employees and members of MPD are required to attend cultural competence training to assist them develop better relationships with the trans community. “Police and government agencies don’t need more training. I’m here because police and government employees need monitoring, oversight and accountability,” said Hunter. “There needs to be a culture shift that is centered on the humanity of all Washingtonians and not just those have access to resources.”

Thursday’s event marks the kickoff of a new campaign for No Justice No Pride, focused on holding the city accountable for the ongoing marginalization of the trans community of color. As part of this campaign, No Justice No Pride has also launched a petition targeting Mayor Bowser, Chief of Police Newsham and Attorney General Racine. The petition demands a review of city employees’ compliance with anti-discrimination rules, alternatives to incarceration for trans women and the decriminalization of sex work, and the establishment of a taskforce of trans and queer community leaders to provide input on the city policies that affect trans and queer individuals, among others.

“Too many of our city’s leaders seem content to let transmisognynistic violence and marginalization continue.” said Talarico. “We’re here because we know there’s more the city can do. We’re here because a world where trans women can thrive free of harassment, criminalization, violence and neglect is possible. We’re not going to quiet down until that is a reality.”

For more information or to speak with representatives from No Justice No Pride, email: [email protected]

Trans Liberation, Not US Militarism

Trans Liberation, Not US Militarism

Selective Outrage Over Trans Military Ban Obscures Larger Failures to Support Trans Communities

July 26, 2017

We are frustrated but not surprised by Trump’s ban on trans individuals’ ability to serve in the U.S. military. This is a clear attempt to attack trans communities in order to drum up support among the administration’s transphobic base as the it seeks to distract from its failures and embarrassments. And the administration’s insistence that trans-competent health care is an unnecessary “financial burden” not a fundamental right sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to the future of trans healthcare.

While we are concerned for the well-being of trans individuals currently serving in the military, we are skeptical of the “outrage,” calls for protest, and fundraising appeals we are seeing from LGBT folks and their allies. Many of those coming out the loudest against the ban on trans military service have been silent as trans folks across the country continue to be killed, as they continue to suffer harassment and violence at the hands of police, and as they continue to be denied housing, jobs, healthcare, respect, and dignity.

We’ve been in the streets showing up for trans folks. Where have you been? What have you been doing?

We are deeply skeptical of the degree to which criticisms of the ban on trans military service ignore the grave injustices carried out by the U.S. military and the military industrial complex. It is possible — and necessary — to criticize policies that single out and attack trans individuals while refusing to endorse, support, or celebrate the U.S. military. Pandering to dangerous sentiments of nationalism and patriotism is no way to garner respect and dignity for trans folks. We will not allow the trans community to be leveraged to support U.S. militarism and imperialism.

We reject the the idea that trans military service should be a priority for the movement for trans liberation. As other trans activists and scholars have pointed out, advocacy around military service only became visible after wealthy billionaire donors, “dedicated to celebrating the US military” put their money behind it. For trans individuals, the right to housing, jobs, food, healthcare, education, and safety should not be contingent on putting one’s life on the line in service of the U.S. war machine.

When thinking about how to respond to Trump’s ban on trans military service,it’s important to listen to the voices of trans folks first. Today, we’ve been inspired by the words of some of our trans comrades on our news feeds:

There are trans people RIGHT NOW IN AMERICA who are homeless, jobless, without healthcare, being denied access to food and resources and you know this. There are trans people RIGHT NOW IN AMERICA who still have not received JUSTICE for the state sanctioned violence we face every day from this murderous regime. And you want me to give my life to a country that never gave a fuck about me? Now you all of a sudden y’all care about trans people? Because of the military… who are you and why are you here? Go ahead and make a difference!

-Lourdes Ashley Hunter, Trans Women of Color Collective

“This ban serves as a disturbing model for trans health care in the US and how institutions will further fail to protect us. To be considered a burden because we demand and deserve affordable and equitible care is nothing short of dehumanizing. BUT most importantly, where are y’all when TWOC are being murdered and abused on the streets? That’s the crux right there. We live on these frontlines daily, and if only cis advocacy could shift it’s focus to what’s really affecting us, we’ll actually feel like we’re heard rather than cis folks steering a ship that’s not theirs. Don’t get me wrong, cis folks do play a crucial and necessary part in all of this, but when an issue like this is what creates your yearning for allyship, then you’re missing the big picture

-Frida Ibarra

Don’t worry white trans people you can still join the border patrol and police if you really need to kill colonized people.”

-Malinalxóchitl Cimi

We refuse to make the ability of trans (and queer) individuals to serve as oppressive agents of the state a central part of our vision of trans liberation.Our liberation cannot and will not be achieved by gaining access to systems fueled by death and destruction. We reject the arguments of those who reduce this issue to a matter of equality versus inequality, because fighting for equality within a corrupt and oppressive system perpetuates injustice.

And to those who claim that military service presents a viable employment opportunity for trans folks — we encourage you to take a moment to examine the systemic barriers to trans employment that make this line of thinking possible.

It is our sincere hope that those mobilizing today in opposition to the trans military ban also recognize their duty to mobilize in opposition to rampant discrimination against trans individuals everywhere. We implore cisgender allies to think twice before celebrating the possibility of trans folks putting their lives on a line for a country that has yet to affirm or respect their value as human beings.


To read more on this topic, check out these resources:

Sex, Gender, and War in an Age of Multicultural Imperialism — Dean Spade & Craig Willse (2014)

Transgender Activists Speak Out Against Campaign to End Trans Military Ban — Toshio Meronek (2014)

Against Equality: Don’t Ask to Fight Their Wars — Against Equality Collective (2012)

A Military Job Is Not Economic Justice — Queers for Economic Justice Statement on DADT (2010)

Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times — Jasbir K. Puar (2007)

To speak with a representative from No Justice No Pride, contact [email protected]