Monday, November 13 through Sunday, November 19 is Transgender Awareness Week, followed by Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20. During this time, Legacy honors the transgender pioneers who have helped pave the way for LGBTQ+ equality.
By Barrett White
The LGBQ+ community owes it all to our Transgender siblings.
This Transgender Awareness Week, Legacy reiterates that the progress that the LGBTQ+ community, as a whole, has seen – especially over the 50-plus years since the Stonewall Riots – is largely the work of the activism carried by transgender-led organizations and trans individuals, especially trans women of color.
At the forefront of the fabled Stonewall Riots were folks like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, transgender women of color who would continue to fight for equality for years after Stonewall until their deaths (save for Griffin-Gracy, who is still with us – and still fighting).
Locally, we have towering individuals like Dee Dee Watters, Ana Andrea Molina, Lou Weaver, and the late (and great) Monica Roberts – to just name a few – whose work makes social equity for the LGBTQ+ community in Texas possible.
Legacy honors Transgender Awareness Week, which runs annually from November 13 through 19, culminating in Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20. These observances are especially important in a state like Texas, where reporting on the number of trans individuals is likely grossly undercounted. Per the Texas Tribune:
“Undercounting the LGBTQ+ population makes it difficult for health care providers to deliver appropriate care, for service organizations to raise funds and for governments to allocate resources. These challenges are especially relevant in Texas, where a conservative culture makes people less likely to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity on official surveys.”
For our transgender friends and loved ones in search of resources, we not only offer our own resources, but suggest local trans-led organizations, too:
Organización Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT). OLTT is a powerful local organization by and for Latina transgender women and their allies. The organization uses activism and visibility to promote respect for the human rights of transgender people.
Houston Transgender Unity Committee. Formed in 1998, the HTUC works to bridge the gap between the various groups and organizations representing transgender persons in the Houston area, to promote unity among the LGBTQ+ community, and to educate and advocate with open and honest advocacy. The HTCU hosts the annual Transgender Unity Banquet and is active in Pride Houston.
Save Our Sisters United & Save Our Sons & Brothers (SOSU, SOSB). The goal of SOSU is to develop safe spaces for individuals of transgender experience and women of minority communities to exist without the stigma that everyday society imposes on transgender individuals. SOSB, inspired by SOSU – their parent organization – does equal work for transmasculine individuals. More on SOSB can be read about in this Spectrum South article on SOSU’s new offshoot.
And nationally, the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition “[improves] the Black trans human experience by overcoming violence and injustice in the world through the power, value, and love of all people.” Work by the NBTAC includes efforts toward equity in employment, housing, and health care. Additionally, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute aims to “protect and defend the human rights of Black transgender people” while the National Center for Transgender Equality “advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.” Dozens of other trans-led organizations dot the nation alongside them, too.
In observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance, Legacy will illuminate the Westheimer-facing façade of our Montrose clinic with the colors of the transgender flag the weekend of November 18 through the evening of November 20.