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An Open Letter to HRC From Trans Community Leaders

An Open Letter to HRC From Trans Community Leaders

Trans Liberation March

'If HRC is truly committed to trans liberation, it must start with repairing, healing, and listening.'

As transgender and nonbinary leaders of prominent advocacy, grassroots, national, regional, legal, and leadership development organizations across the United States, we are troubled by Human Rights Campaign's announcement of its new "trans-centered" framework, which we first learned about on Trans people, and primarily Black trans leaders and trans leaders of color, have been leading the work for trans liberation since long before HRC existed. As new HRC president Alphonso David acknowledged to Out, our work in recent decades has more often been opposed and undermined by HRC rather than supported.

We believe that organizations can change and that there could be a role for HRC in the fight for trans liberation. But we were surprised to read that David believes HRC's role is "to come up with solutions and stand on the frontline to provide meaningful solutions for the transgender community."

Our lives are the frontlines. We have the solutions. And after many years of holding institutions like HRC accountable, we finally have won some infrastructure -- with still far too limited resources -- to support our movement for trans liberation in the United States.

We need more funding. We need more power. We need to be trusted to lead with our own solutions to the oppression that threatens our lives. We do not need a cisgender-led $40 million organization to copy our work and brand it as new.

The trans leaders signing this statement work day in and day out to build and strategize towards what liberation may look like for all of us -- and HRC should not claim to lead this for us. Trans disability justice and HIV/AIDS leaders have said it best: Nothing about us, without us.

Many of us are Black trans leaders and trans leaders of color, and were excited by David's appointment as the first Black president of HRC. Racism, anti-Blackness, and transphobia together work to undo our movements and threaten our lives and visions for liberation. We remain hopeful for David's leadership and recognize that he alone cannot resolve the organization's full legacy of transphobia, racism, and its compounding effects in two months on the job.

But if HRC is truly committed to trans liberation, the organization's leadership must start with repairing, healing, and listening. They must start by addressing past harm, building genuine relationships, and demonstrating support for our leadership. They must bolster our work, not take credit for it.

We invite a conversation with Alphonso David and other HRC leadership. We would welcome HRC's support -- but we will not accept their cooptation of our movement.

Adrien Lawyer, Co-Director, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico

Aidan Key, Executive Director, Gender Diversity

Aldo Gallardo

Alex Patchin McNeill, Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians

Alexander Lee, Board Member, Griffin-Gracy Educational Retreat & Historical Center

Amita Swadhin, Founding Director, Mirror Memoirs

Ana Andrea, Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT)

Ana Conner

Andy Marra, Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

Anjali Rimi, South Asian trans leader

ArTEC (Arkansas Transgender Equity Collaborative)

Aryah Lester, Deputy Director, Transgender Strategy Center

Bamby Salcedo, President/CEO, The TransLatin@ Coalition

Ben Hudson, Jr. Executive Director, Gender Health Center

Beyond These Walls


C. Chela Demuir, Unique Woman's Coalition

Cathy Kapua, Native Hawaiian trans leader

Cecilia Chung, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Evaluation, Transgender Law Center

The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at University of California, San Francisco

Chase Strangio

Clair Farley, Director, San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives

Compton's Transgender Cultural District

Cristina Herrera, CEO & Founder, Translatinx Network

Dale Manning, President, Transgender Equality Network

Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd, Executive Director, Trans United Fund

Diego Barrera, Founder and Director, inTRANSitive, Arkansas

Dr. Lourdes Ashley Hunter, Executive Director, Trans Women of Color Collective

Drago Renteria, Executive Director, Deaf Queer Resource Center

Dylan Waguespack, President, Board of Directors, Louisiana Trans Advocates

Ebony Ava Harper, National Alliance for Trans Liberation and Advancement

Eli Clare, writer and activist

Elle Hearns, Founder and Executive Director, The Marsha P. Johnson Institute

Erica Woodland, Founding Director, National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network

Evonne Kaho, Love Me Unlimited 4 Life

Gabriel Arkles

Gender Justice LA

Gender Justice League

Grace Sterling Stowell, Executive Director, Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY, Inc.)

Isa Noyola, El/La Para TransLatinas

Isyss Honnen, Director, TRANSform Washington at Pride Foundation

Jamison Green, Ph.D

Janetta Johnson, Executive Director, Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP)

Jennicet Gutierrez, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

Juniperangelica Cordova, National TRUTH (Trans Youth) Council

Karter Booher, Executive Director, Ingersoll Gender Center

Kit Malone, community organizer

Kiyomi Fujikawa

Kris Hayashi, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center

LaGender, Inc.

LaLa Zannell

LaSaia Wade, Founder and Executive Director, Brave Space Alliance

Lillian Lennon

Lisa Stuart, Vice President, Transgender Equality Network

Luc Bensimon, Activist, Black Transmen Inc, Kansas chapter

Maceo Persson, Civic Engagement and Operations Manager, San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives

Maria Roman, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, The TransLatin@ Coalition

Marisa Richmond, Ph.D., Middle Tennessee State University

Marsha Botzer

Mattee Jim, Supervisor, HIV Prevention Programs, First Nations Community HealthSource, Native American trans advocate

Michael Soto, Executive Director, Equality Arizona

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Founder, House of GG

Monica Helms, Creator of the Trans Flag

Monica Roberts, Founding Managing Editor, TransGriot

Montana Gender Alliance

Morey Riordan, Founding Director, Transgender Strategy Center

My Sistah's House

New York Transgender Advocacy Group

Octavia Y. Lewis, MPA

Ola Osaze, Director, Black LGBTQIA Migrant Project

Payshunz Nagashima, Texas-based activist

Quentin Bell, Executive Director, The Knights & Orchids Society

Rev. Debra J. Hopkins, Pastor, Essentials for Life Ministries, Charlotte, NC

Rev. Elena Rose Vera, Executive Director, Trans Lifeline

Rev. Louis Mitchell, Executive Director, Transfaith

Ruby Corado, Executive Director, Casa Ruby

Ryan Li Dahlstrom

Sam Ames, Interim Executive Director, Our Family Coalition

Sammie Ablaza Wills, Executive Director, APIENC

Sayer A Johnson, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Metro Trans Umbrella Group and Founder, Trans Queer Flat

Sean Coleman, Executive Director, Destination Tomorrow

Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative (SNaPCo), Racial Justice Action Center

Taffy Johnson, Executive Director, UTOPIA Seattle

Theresa Sparks

Tita Aida

Toya Washington, Executive Director, TAKE Resource Center

Toni Newman, Executive Director, St. James Infirmary

Toni-Michelle Williams, Director, Solutions NOT Punishment Collaborative (SNaPCo)

Trans Justice Funding Project

Trans Queer Pueblo


Tre'Andre Valentine, Executive Director, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)

Umi Vera, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan

Wes Ware

Z! Haukeness, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), (National) Chapter Support Co-Coordinator

Zahara Green, Executive Director, TRANScending Barriers

Zane Stephens, Co-Director, Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico

*If you wish to show your support for this statement, please add your name in a comment below.

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