Post submitted by Jacob Tobia, HRC Foundation Intern
This Tuesday, about 30 HRC-affiliated staff and supporters went to Capitol Hill to participate in Transgender Lobby Day, hosted by the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Participants in Trans Lobby Day had the opportunity to speak with their senators and congressional representatives about the challenges that continue to confront transgender and gender non-conforming people. Representatives from HRC lobbied congressional representatives and senators from across the country.
For many participants, this was the first time that they had lobbied a member of Congress. Oftentimes, Congress members and their staff had never had the chance to meet transgender individuals from their district. With this in mind, Trans Lobby Day provided a valuable opportunity for transgender and gender non-conforming constituents to share their stories with America’s legislators.
At this year’s lobby day, advocates particularly highlighted the experiences of transgender people of color. Organizations such as the Transgender People of Color Coalition, the Coalicion Translatin@, Black Transmen and Black Transwomen Inc. co-sponsored the event and helped to encourage greater visibility for transgender people of color. In the United States, transgender people of color—particularly transgender women—face increased incidence of violence, harassment, and poverty due to the double impact of transphobia and racism.
When talking with senators and representatives, participants in Trans Lobby Day focused predominately on two pieces of legislation: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA). Though the source of some debate following the Hobby Lobby decision, ENDA would protect millions of LGBT employees across the country from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Similarly, SNDA would protect LGBT students from bullying and harassment in public schools and would ensure that school administrations take adequate steps to confront bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
All-in-all, over 250 transgender, gender non-conforming, and allied individuals took part in Trans Lobby Day, participating in 107 meetings in the House of Representatives and 60 meetings in the Senate.
To learn more about HRC’s commitment to the transgender community, click here.