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AIDS Issues Update Blog

Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS

DC Youth Activists Protest at City Hall, Calling on Mayor Gray to Support the Transgender Community

Posted by Sunny Bjerk , August 16, 2012

DC Youth Activists Protest at City Hall, Calling on Mayor Gray to Support the Transgender Community

This morning at 11:30am, over twenty C2EA (Campaign to End AIDS) youth activists raised hell for an hour right in front of DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s office, protesting the discrimination that the local transgender community faces in accessing housing, health care, and employment in the DC area.

Rallying on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the protestors chanted, Tear Apart Trans Hate, Support Trans Health, and Transfer Trans Funds, calling on Mayor Gray to fund culturally competent services and programs to empower the District’s transgender community.

Ironically, although DC has a gender expression nondiscrimination act (as do 16 other States), DC’s Director of Human Rights Gustavo Velasquez notes that even with these protections in place, the transgender community still faces elevated levels of violence, discrimination and barriers to public accommodations and services. In fact, over 67% of all hate crimes in DC this year were against someone in the LGBT community.

Today’s protest comes at a very appropriate time, as DC plans to launch a comprehensive transgender ad campaign this fall to promote positive images of transgender and gender non-conforming folks, and to encourage people to report any abuse or discrimination to the DC Office of Human Rights. Although the ads are not yet live, images can be seen on the DC Office of Human Rights’ Facebook page.

Two C2EA activists walked through City Hall and distributed information on transgender issues and were met with incredibly positive feedback. DC Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans— who has plans for unseating Mayor Gray—came out of City Hall to meet and greet the C2EA activists, expressing his solidarity and support for the LGBT community. Concurrently, Mayor Gray sent out two Community Engagement representatives, but made no appearances himself.

Videos of the action are now available on C2EA’s Youtube channel.

Follow the Update blog on Twitter @housingworks.

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