Trans Day of Remembrance

The transgender community continues to face biased violence that has resulted in at least 22 murders in the United States so far this year. This estimate is lower than the actual number due to cases being unreported or victims not being identified as transgender in the media often because the victim’s gender identity is not recognized by authorities and/or family members.

The victims of this violence are disproportionately trans woman of color, Black trans women in particular, which demonstrates the compounding effects of transphobia, racism, & sexism. In 2017, the deadliest year on record for transgender people with 25 reported murders, 84% of deaths were people of color; 80% were women and more than 75% were under the age of 30 according to the Human Rights Campaign and Trans People of Color Coalition report, A Time to Act. Distressingly, 2018 may prove to be another record-breaking year.

The first known trans person killed in 2018 was Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien in Massachusetts, who was a well-known community advocate who organized and produced trans beauty pageants.

In May, Roxsana Hernandez, a trans woman from Honduras seeking asylum in the US, died while in custody of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. LGBTQ migrants, especially transgender individuals, face increased vulnerability to violence.

Even more recently, Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, a 31-year old Black trans woman, was fatally stabbed in Chicago and was the 6th trans woman of color murdered in a five-week period, and the 22nd recorded trans murder in 2018.

Dehumanization leads to violence. Transgender individuals are children, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, friends, partners, and community leaders. Recognizing and protecting the humanity of transgender individuals on a personal, state, and federal level is crucial to ending this violence.

Continued attacks from the current administration contribute to the dehumanization of transgender individuals. These attacks include, to name a few; the Department of Education’s announcement that it will not protect trans students’ rights to use appropriately gendered facilities, the Justice’ Department’s instruction to attorneys to take the legal position that federal law does not protect transgender workers from discrimination, Trump’s attempt to discharge transgender military service members, the Department of Justice’s illegal policy of housing transgender individuals in federal prison facilities that match their sex assigned at birth rather than their actual gender identity, instructing the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to not use a list of words including “transgender” and “diversity”, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s removal of four key resource guides for emergency shelters on best practices for serving transgender people facing homelessness.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), observed November 20 every year, commemorates those lives lost to anti-transgender violence. Day of Remembrance will be observed starting at the Courthouse on Pearl St. at 6pm with featured speakers including District Attorney Michael Dougherty, County Commissioner Deb Gardner, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones, and local trans community members. After opening remarks, the group will silently walk to the First United Methodist Church labyrinth for a names ceremony.

Out Boulder County also hosts a week of activities leading up to TDOR, Trans Awareness Week, Nov 13-20. This year’s events include Sharing Transgender Stories: Q&A Panel with local trans individuals on Nov 14 and a film screening of “A Queer & Pleasant Danger” at the Dairy Arts Center on Nov 13; see the full list of events here: www.outboulder.org/TAW


#WontBeErased

We Won’t Be Erased

Yesterday’s news was another shock to our individual and collective systems.  As we each read yesterday’s New York Times article detailing the intent by the federal administration to redefine Title Nine protections to specifically exclude and erase transgender, non-binary, intersex, and other gender diverse individuals from its protections, our fears rose and our hearts sank.

As a member of the Board and as an out and proud trans masculine individual, I have been in communication with my fellow Board members and our staff, and we stand united and committed to continuing the fight against this administration's repeated attacks on the LGBTQ community. We renew and affirm our pledge of solidarity to the trans community in that:

* The "T" and all genders it represents is firmly imprinted in our organization and nothing this administration does will ever erase that.

* We will continue to educate and advocate for the transgender, non-binary, intersex, and gender diverse community with our local government, law enforcement, businesses, and community, always.

* We will continue to do the work, both internally and externally within the community, to continue to center the voices and experiences of our queer and trans people of color community.

*We will continue to acknowledge and lift up those with intersecting identities who are the most vulnerable in our community and act in solidarity together.

In the State of Colorado, trans people have protections. I encourage you to vote by November 6th to ensure a fair and just Colorado.

As a member of the community, to my gender expansive family, I say this: Know that your existence matters. Know that we see you in your authenticity and no words that anyone commits to paper will ever erase the beautiful individual that you are. There are uncertain times yet to come and we will face them together. Our family and this community is based on strength and resilience. No one stands alone. You are not alone. Together we will never be erased, together we will never be eliminated. Trans people have always existed. We will always be here. We #WontBeErased.

On behalf of the Out Boulder County Board of Directors

W. Ravyn Wayne (he-him-his)

Board Treasurer

Helpful Resources

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

Boulder County Gender Support groups welcome all gender-expansive identities and meets weekly in Longmont (Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm) and Boulder (Thursdays 7-9pm) at the Out Boulder County offices.

Relevant upcoming events

To build solidarity in community, and support your own resiliency, we invite you to please participate with our upcoming events:

Boulder County Responds to Hate

5:30-7:30pm, Monday, October 29 at Boulder Jewish Community Center (6007 Oreg Ave)

Throughout the country, there has been an increase in reported hate crimes.  The DA’s Office is launching a Bias & Hate Crimes Initiative to raise community awareness and improve the collective response to these offenses.  Join District Attorney Michael Dougherty, community leaders, law enforcement, and school representatives for important panel discussions on “Fighting Hate in Our Communities” and “Social Media & Bullying.”

If you have experienced a hate crime or incident, or in the event of an emergency, please call 911.  The Boulder County DA’s Bias hotline for non-emergency reporting is 303-441-1595. See more on our website or facebook event.

Trans Awareness Week, Nov 13-20

www.outboulder.org/taw

Tuesday, Nov 13, 7 pm: Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger film screening at the Dairy Arts Center, Boedecker Theater.  For decades, performance artist and writer Kate Bornstein has been exploding binaries and deconstructing gender. And, her own identity. Trans-dyke. Reluctant polyamorist. Sadomasochist. Recovering Scientologist. Pioneering Gender Outlaw. Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger, joins her on her latest tour capturing rollicking public performances and painful personal revelations as it bears witness to Kate as a trailblazing artist theorist activist who inhabits a space between male and female with wit, style, and astonishing candor. By turns meditative and playful, the film invites us on a thought provoking journey through Kate's world to seek answers to some of life's biggest questions. (Same Feder, 2014, USA, 1:12, NR)

Wednesday, Nov 14, 6:30-8:30pm: Sharing Transgender Stories: Q&A Panel at OBC Longmont office. Join us for an evening of story-telling in which you will hear inspiring stories, learn about trans experiences, have an opportunity to have your questions answered, and learn how to be a better ally.

Saturday, Nov 17, 4-7pm: TransGiving at OBC Longmont office. Community meal open to trans, non-binary, and gender expansive individuals only. Our annual TransGiving Dinner is a celebration of our trans community. Join together with other trans identified folk and enjoy a free traditional holiday meal in a safe and welcoming environment. Meet old and new friends and enjoy sharing space with folks who share a trans identity.

This event is for trans-identified individuals only. This event is 18+. Folks ages 16 or 17 may be allowed with guardian permission. Please RSVP to the event via the link below so we may be able to accommodate all attending:

https://tinyurl.com/TransGiving2018

Sunday, Nov 18, 6-8pm: Trans & Friends Social at Under the Sun (627 South Broadway, Boulder)

Join us for an informal gathering of trans folks, friends, families, partners, and allies as we share space, food, drinks, and community.  

Monday, Nov 19, 4:30-6:30pm: Trans Trivia at OBC Longmont office. Celebrate Trans Awareness Week with OBC's youth program! Youth-run trivia game to educate and entertain folks of all ages about trans topics. Pizza & prizes provided.  All ages & identities welcome!

Tuesday, Nov 20, 6pm: Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), Old Courthouse on Pearl St. Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on November 20 that honors those lives lost due to anti-transgender violence. We will meet at the Courthouse on Pearl Street in Boulder to begin the ceremony and hear from speakers. Then we will walk silently together to the First United Methodist Church labyrinth for the reading of names. Attendees will have time to walk the labyrinth after the names are read.


Support the ongoing work of Out Boulder County in building community resiliency by donating.


National Coming Out Day

The Longmont Observer reached out to Out Boulder County about National Coming Out Day - which is held on October 11 every year and is an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQ+ identities and visibility. Read the article posted here and available below:

Today, October 11, was National Coming Out Day. In the process of learning more about it, the Longmont Observer contacted Out Boulder County. Michal Duffy was gracious enough to answer our questions.

What does National Coming Out Day mean for Out Boulder?

National Coming Out Day is a day that highlights the work that we do all year round. As our name (Out Boulder County) communicates, we envision a world in which all LGBTQ people can be open about who they are. We believe that it is important to be out when it’s safe and possible.

We also recognize that not everyone has the privilege to be out and open about their gender and/or sexual identity. We strive every day to make the world, and specifically Boulder County, a safer place to be out. We celebrate all of our LGBTQ community members, whether or not they are out, and they are all invited to participate in our programming in whatever capacity feels affirming.

People do not have to be LGBTQ or out as LGBTQ in order to be actively involved with Out Boulder County.

What should those in the process of making a decision to come out know?

Folks who are considering coming out should know that they are not alone. We have a vibrant, diverse community that welcomes people from all walks of life, all socioeconomic means, all races, skin colors, ethnicities, all abilities, all professions, and of course, all genders and sexual orientations. That being said, before deciding to come out, it is important for people to consider the impact that decision could have on their lives.

Unfortunately, we do not yet have a world in which everyone who comes out will be celebrated and affirmed in that part of their identity. Every individual’s situation is unique. Youth who are still living at home need to consider how their family and guardians may respond; employees need to consider how their employer may respond.

While we have strong non-discrimination protections in Colorado, that does not mean that discrimination is not present. Individuals should be strategic about how and when to come out. They are welcome to come to the Out Boulder County offices and groups to find peer support. We also offer referrals to therapists and other care providers who can support individuals going through this process. It’s also important to know that not all LGBTQ people fit the stereotypes; there are endless ways of being LGBTQ.

Where can they find the encouragement and support they need to confidently make this decision?

Individuals seeking encouragement and support in their decision and process of coming out can find it in the LGBTQ community. This can mean coming to the Out Boulder County offices, attending groups and events, and finding online community (locally and globally).

Attending LGBTQ events, such as plays and films, can also provide a source of strength and inspiration. For youth, attending a GSA (gay straight alliance or gender & sexuality alliance) meeting will allow them to find peers their age who may have similar experiences or questions.

There are many LGBTQ groups in the area; showing up and finding the right fit can have lasting impact. Identifying a confidant, an ally, to have initial conversations and to attend events and groups with can also help someone make those first steps of getting connected.

Getting connected to LGBTQ resources and peers can provide support and insight for someone’s process of deciding if, when, how, and to whom to come out. Out Boulder County is happy to help individuals find the right fit.

What should be personally considered in the process of making such a decision and how do you know when the time is right for you?

I touched on this in an earlier response and can elaborate further. If someone is not sure if they will be supported when coming out, they may need to consider how their basic needs will be affected if they no longer have the support of their family, guardians, faith community, workplace, or wherever they are considering coming out. It’s estimated that approximately 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. This disproportionate statistic conveys that coming out can have serious repercussions.

LGBTQ individuals also experience discrimination in the workplace and housing. Individuals who want to come out should have a support network in place-whether it’s friends, family members, community members, teachers, counselors, or others. Identify who may or may not be supportive before coming out by mentioning LGBTQ topics and gauge their response. Identify supportive organizations or groups, of course Out Boulder County, but also open and affirming faith communities, supportive therapists, employee resource groups, and the like. Even though the national consciousness around LGBTQ identities and issues is increasing generally, it is still not universally safe for individuals to come out.

Once a person has determined their basic safety and needs, then I would recommend having a support plan. Coming out can be scary and emotionally draining. Take time for self-care and arrange for peer support after coming out to a particular person or in a particular place.

Many people communicate that at some point not being out is no longer a choice because of the affect of being closeted on their mental health. It can be very heavy and hard to be ‘in the closet’ (not out as LGBTQ). Coming out can bring up many emotions, so be prepared for that journey and remind yourself why you are coming out.

Having pride in our LGBTQ identities is a revolutionary act and, I would argue, a necessary one. The time is right when the time is right. Only the individual can determine that.

What else is important to know?

It’s also important to note that not everyone has the luxury of coming out because they are ‘outed’ by others. It is important to respect an individual’s privacy and not reveal someone’s actual or perceived LGBTQ identity without their consent.

Some individuals’ LGBTQ identities are so apparent that others may affix an LGBTQ identity to them before they claim it for themselves. Allow people their own time and space to claim their own identity; don’t take that away from them.

LGBTQ people are everywhere and it is not always apparent based on appearances. Assume there are always LGBTQ people in the room or within earshot. Remember that no one is obligated to come out, or to come out to you, and their reasons are their own; respect privacy. And also respect pride. LGBTQ individuals face oppression and discrimination, and to be proud of one’s self in spite of that has transformative power that cannot be dismissed.

It’s also important to recognize that coming out can be a continual process of self-exploration and identification. As someone explores their identities, gains experience, meets other LGBTQ people, they may come out as different identities. This does not mean it was a “phase”, but rather that it is a process. Language is also a living, breathing thing and terms may come in and out of use as meaning is ascribed and evolves. It is important to honor each individual’s self-identified identity.

LGBT Community Centers Continue to Lead

Out Boulder County participated in this annual survey conducted by the Movement Advance Project and Centerlink. 

"For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, LGBT community centers are a critical and sometimes the only local source of targeted social, educational, and health services. According to a new report released yesterday from MAP and CenterLink, The 2018 LGBT Community Center Survey Report: Assessing the Capacity and Programs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Centers, these centers are often understaffed, underfunded, and under resourced, yet they serve more than 40,000 people each week and provide targeted referrals to nearly 5,500 people. Surveying 128 centers including Out Boulder County located in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the sixth edition of the report provides a crucial snapshot of the centers that provide vital services, programs, and advocacy for LGBT people. 

The report found that the 113 centers that reported 2017 revenue data have combined revenue of $226.7 million, with both large and small centers reporting an increase over the previous year. However, the report also found centers faced significant challenges, such as a lack of resources and paid staff-particularly among smaller centers.

"LGBT community centers are incredibly resilient. Not only do these centers provide critical direct services despite a daunting lack of resources, they are also active advocates on behalf of their members," said Naomi Goldberg, MAP Policy Director. "Investing in LGBT community centers-particularly smaller centers-is an effective way to support LGBT people across the United States." The report found that 93% of centers are actively working to advance policy change at federal, state, and local levels.

Be sure to check out the OBC highlight for QTPoC on page 13 of the report!

Here is the link to the full report: http://www.lgbtmap.org/2018-lgbt-community-center-survey-report

Seagate Technology Debuts PRIDE! Employee Group, Sponsors Activities in Boulder County

Seagate Technology Debuts PRIDE! Employee Group, Sponsors Activities in Boulder County

The Longmont chapter of Seagate PRIDE! aims to have a large impact, both on-site and externally in Boulder County. The primary goal is to support LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) employees and their allies, providing resources on workplace issues and networking to help employees feel a greater sense of belonging at Seagate. Creating a culture of inclusion helps spread the spirit of belonging from one diverse employee group to all employees.

Let Us All Eat Cake

Let Us All Eat Cake

It’s always confusing when courts issue opinions that seem to reflect some unsettling effort to find a middle ground when the opinion is about our very lives. But, like it or not, that’s what Kennedy and the justices who voted with him gave us. That is what we have to work with—not what we hoped for and not the legal buzz saw that we might have encountered … The tactic of pushing for so-called religious exemptions is the tool of the backlash. Opponents of queer rights have been using that tool to undo the progress that we have made, particularly in the arena of marriage equality … We need to push back by understanding how the appeal to religious exemptions works and why it is often so misleadingly seductive … We have to educate ourselves and our communities about religious exemptions because they are a tool that will come back over and over again. And, given recent and continuing appointments of federal judges, that is not good news.

Calling All LGBTQ Veterans!

Calling All LGBTQ Veterans!

We have received a small grant to support LGBTQ+ veterans. We are planning an initial meeting to hear what local vets want this programming to be. If you are an LGBTQ+ veteran, please contact Michal (mduffy@outboulder.org) so that we can include your input.  As we hear back, we will schedule this meeting in order to move forward.

Programa para Jóvenes de Color que son LGBTQ, Cuestionando, y sus Aliados

Programa para Jóvenes de Color que son LGBTQ, Cuestionando, y sus Aliados

Como comunidad que abarca todos los demás grupos demográficos, estamos trabajando para convertirnos en una organización inclusiva que reconozca y celebre nuestra unidad, así como nuestra diversidad. Sabemos que … algunos de los retos enfrentando a los jóvenes de color que también son LGBTQ o cuestionando. La necesidad es evidente y por eso estamos respondiendo.