Kick-off of statewide transgender movement promotes safety and respect.
BY ORLY LYONNE
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined individuals from the transgender community, statewide LGBT organizations, local officials, civil rights groups, businesses, faith-based leaders and community members to launch Transform California last month—a statewide movement founded by Equality California and the Transgender Law Center to promote respect, understanding and safety for the transgender community. As part of the effort, coalition members signed a Transform California pledge – opposing discrimination against transgender people.
“California and its residents are known around the world for standing up for the values of tolerance and equality,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“Trans people should have the freedom to live their lives, to dream, and to plan for the future without worrying about their safety or basic rights. I am proud to add my voice to the broad coalition supporting Transform California, a new step in the march toward full inclusion for our trans brothers and sisters.”
“My message today, is that there are still many ways in which the world we live in tells transgender people like me that we aren’t welcome. And I encourage folks to think about how it would make you feel if you or your child faced that kind of discrimination,” added Maria Roman, a community activist and transgender Californian.
“Transform California is one important step toward bringing our communities together to ensure respect and dignity for all.”
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, “transgender people face extraordinary levels of physical and sexual violence, whether on the streets, at school or work, at home, or at the hands of government officials. More than one in four transgender people has faced a bias-driven assault, and rates are higher for transgender women and transgender people of color.”
Just recently in Los Angeles, a transgender teenager was purposely run over, and we’re mourning the loss of another young transgender woman, Quartney Yochum, who was murdered last month. Transform California is building a coalition of Californians committed to ending this violence and lifting up the voices and solutions of transgender people.
The statewide launch celebration in Los Angeles was held on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall and attended by more than 50 coalition members, including Pat Manuel, a transgender Californian, amateur boxer and small business owner; Maria Roman, a transgender Californian and community activist; Rabbi Becky Silverstein, one of the first openly transgender rabbis affiliated with the Conservative movement; Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; Isa Noyola, Transgender Law Center Program Director; Kris Hayashi, Transgender Law Center Executive Director; and Rick Zbur, Equality California Executive Director.
Following the Los Angeles launch, Transform California will host regional rallies throughout the state, which will be attended by organizations and individuals from vastly different landscapes, including civil rights organizations, business leaders, and local and state elected officials, among many others. While varied in background, the mission of every Transform California coalition member is the same: promote respect, understanding and safety for the transgender community, and oppose discrimination of all kinds.
“I hope you’ll join me by going to TransformCalifornia.com today and signing our pledge to make the Golden State a place where all people can feel safe and live free from discrimination,” said Pat Manuel, a participant in the Transform California Los Angeles rally.
By signing the Transform California pledge coalition members are openly declaring to make a meaningful effort to change the statistics on violence and discrimination that transgender people face each and every day.
For more information on Transform California or to sign the coalition pledge and join the movement, visit www.TransformCalifornia.org.