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Transgender Equality:
A Handbook for Activists Published

Organizing Manual Breaks New Ground in Bias Struggle

Book Defines and Describes Transgender Terms and Issues

Compiled By GayToday

New York, New York-- The nation's first comprehensive organizing manual designed to educate policymakers about transgender issues and to provide model strategies for activists seeking an end to discrimination against transgendered people was released Monday by The Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). ladyliketrans.jpg - 15.28 K Lady Like magazine caters to the transgendered community

The publication, Transgender Equality: A Handbook for Activists and Policymakers, reviews some 25 years of transgender advocacy and was co-authored by national leaders in transgender activism: City University of New York Associate Professor Paisley Currah and NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Shannon Minter, with an introduction by Jamison Green, past president of FTM International and current board chair of Gender Education and Advocacy, Inc.

"Transgender Equality is a powerful educational tool that marks a turning point for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement," said NGLTF Executive Director Elizabeth Toledo.

"This book works toward breaking down the barriers that have divided our movement for decades. It empowers all of us - not only transgendered people, but also gay, lesbian, and bisexual people and allies--to advocate effectively for inclusive equality in our communities and workplaces."

Through 27 personal stories and case studies, Transgender Equality defines and describes transgender terms and issues; discusses the ways sexual orientation and gender identity overlap and differ; examines the role of gender variance in homophobia and anti-gay violence; provides information on efforts to achieve basic legal protections for transgendered people; and suggests strategies for advancing inclusive anti-discrimination, safe schools, and hate-crimes legislation.

Perhaps the most significant contribution of the book is its demonstration of how the fear that including transgendered people "will kill the bill" is almost always exaggerated and based far more on unfounded speculation than on a realistic assessment of what is possible.

In fact, anti-discrimination laws that include "gender identity" have begun to blossom nationwide: from 4 cities with nondiscrimination laws that cover transgendered people in 1990 to 4 states, 3 counties, and at least 20 additional cities in 2000.

Additionally courts have seen a new wave of civil rights litigation brought forward by transgender plaintiffs. By March 2000, 3.8 percent of Americans lived in jurisdictions with laws that address gender variant people, the report finds.

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Despite such dramatic advances, however, transgendered activists often find themselves struggling for a voice in the fight for equality. "Policy and legislative issues affecting gender variant people are too often ignored," said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell.

"NCLR is committed to ending the isolation of the transgendered community, and this publication represents a major bridge between the lesbian and feminist communities and the transgendered political movement."

In the book, authors Minter and Currah point out that between 1996 and 1999, 31 jurisdictions passed laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but that only six of those laws included provisions for transgendered people.

Transgender Equality provides examples of successful legal language, offers talking points to assist efforts to educate both the public and policymakers about issues important to the transgender community, and discusses strategies to achieve transgender equality in workplaces and educational institutions.

In 1997, NGLTF became the first national gay and lesbian organization to amend its mission statement to include bisexual and transgendered people. One year later it became the first national GLBT organization to bring a transgendered person onto its board of directors.
The handbook is available free of charge from NGLTF online in the Library + Publications section at or for $10 by ordering online or calling (202) 332-6483, ext. 3205.

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