Trans Justice — Trans Justice
Recognizing the continued marginalization and violence that hurts and kills trans people - especially trans women and particularly black and brown trans women - in a year marked by the highest identified number of trans folks murdered, No Justice No Pride began a campaign in July 2017 with a public statement on violence against trans women of color in D.C., a petition still circulating that’s gained more than 1,000 local signatures, a call-in day to the Metropolitan Police Department, and a rally and march to fight against transmisogyny and help protect and support the largest recorded per capita population of trans folks on lands occupied by the United States.
NJNP has since worked in coalitions to help make key parts of our vision for Trans Justice a reality, including anything from playing a critical role in organizing District-wide outreach, public education efforts, and canvassing to generate public support for City Council bills that would make life safer for many trans folks - to partnering with Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) in November 2017 to host a Trans Night of Healing and Resistance to ensure a space in which TGNC communities could mourn those lost, be honored, and heal in a space free of actors of state violence.
Notably, in January 2018, NJNP packed the court and stopped a dangerous “nuisance” bill in D.C. City Council from ever reaching a vote, instead demanding that the Council schedule a hearing for the sex work decrim bill and that the Council fully fund the NEAR Act. In the beginning of April 2018, we co-organized a Canvass in Ward 6 with other Sex Worker Advocates Coalition (SWAC) Members, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, HIPS and BYP100.
With what started in 2017 quickly grew into its own program as NJNP continues to work on solutions to the issues laid out in our petition. While celebrating small victories, we continued to expand our goals and issues areas beyond:
- Community Safety and Alternatives to Incarceration -Decriminalization of Sex work, roundtable around police brutality, deprioritization of arrests around solicitation - loitering - and other petty often selectively enforced laws, etc.
- Mayoral Accountability - Mayor Bower fulfills her campaign promises to the District of Columbia’s Trans & gender non-conforming(TGNC) and queer communities,
- Following Through on Equitable Access - The City reviews compliance of administrative and front line staff in all D.C. government agencies with the District’s legal protections for TGNC individuals,
- District of Columbia Forms Trans Community Taskforce - of TGNC community leaders and experts of color leading guidance as the city develops and sustains programs and policies that support these communities.
NJNP’s efforts over the past year have brought to light the exceptional needs in the trans community for access to healthcare, housing, immigration services, spanish speaking language services, and employment. Rampant discrimination prevents many trans and GNC people from accessing services and basic needs. Understanding the countless, massive barriers that trans folx - particularly black and brown trans women - face in D.C. to access employment, housing, and other basic needs and services, we work to center those most on the margins and support each other. We must keep one another safe, fed, and housed as we fight for a world that affirms us.
Trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) communities are facing increasing levels of violence on top of barriers that have only continue to grow after the passage of FOSTA/SESTA in April 2018. Since then, NJNP has doubled-down on its work to fight back against anti-TGNC violence by providing Rapid Response Support to our familia as a crucial component of our Trans Justice Program, alongside Mutual Aid in the form of:
- Temporary Housing - at the NJNP House Collective or with NJNP allies who have space — for housing unstable or whose work hours extended passed the curfew at their existing housing. Housing was already a critical issue in D.C.’s TGNC Communities before the loss of Backpage and Craigslist Personals among other sites, but the loss in income resulting from these bills have left far too many unable to pay for rent, and many who were in the process of getting housing at tgh lost their deposits.
- Employment - Helping people find jobs, assisting with cover letter and resume writing, and practice interviewing.
- Access - Helping people get IDs, correct name and gender on legal documents, open bank accounts, raise money to keep their phones on, and access alternative and natural medicines.
- Meals - Working with community partners and allies to source meals and ingredients and make meals for struggling TGNC Community Members who stop by NJNP.
- Legal Support and responding to State Terror - Supporting and advocating for our accomplices at hearings, helping folks navigate the system, raising money for jail and legal defense support, signal boosting/engaging in Public Awareness Campaigns and working with community partners, organizations and volunteer lawyers to support TGNC community members in need.
In Spring and Summer 2018, NJNP began and completed a three month pilot, stipended Organizing Training Project (OTP) to develop the organizing and leadership skills of trans folks of color most directly and disproportionately impacted by violence resulting from the criminalization of sex work to organize locally impacted communities and lead the movement to decriminalize sex work and make the District of Columbia a safer space for trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals and communities.
Organizing Training Project Pilot (OTP) is intended for community members most-impacted by structural racism, transmisogny, state violence, and other systems of power whose manifestations individually and structurally adversely affect their communities. The Pilot training period is just over three months. Currently, NJNP is supporting 3 organizers through this program and hopes to support more pending trainer and volunteer capacity, as well as funding. During the first pilot, organizers started at 10-15 hours a week and slowly increased to 25 hours a week at $16 an hour while receiving training and leadership development through learning Movement History, Story Telling, How Best to Manage 1:1 Meetings and Campaign Communications, Direct Action Skills, and Campaign Planning among others led by NJNP Organizers, Trainers, Facilitators and Volunteers.
In June 2018, the organizers-in-training participating in the OTP pilot and the other TGNC Community Members they organized to join them shared their stories at Sex Workers Rise Up for Safety - a rally organized by No Justice No pride, HIPS, CASS, BYP100, Trans United Fund, and Metro DSA. Organizers are currently involved in City Wide Storytelling Project as well as working to continue and replicate the work NJNP started with their Rapid Response Support to support each other and keep each other safe, fed, and housed while working and fighting for a world that affirms us.