Transgender activists staff table at Austin Black Tie Dinner
Transgender Advocates of Central Texas participated in the recent Human Rights Campaign Austin Black Tie Dinner by staffing a table at the event intended to give attendees the opportunity to learn about and discuss gender expression issues, according to TACT officials.
TACT members stressed their message that “Gender Expression Matters” by offering those attending the event lapel stickers and encouraging them to talk about whether they believe transgender people are part of the lesbian and gay community.
The event took place in the wake of discord between the Human Rights Campaign and transgender activists last fall over the organization’s support of a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act that did not include protections for transgenders. But TACT members who staffed the table at the Austin Black Tie event said they felt welcome and were encouraged by the support expressed by most of those attending the dinner.
Many HRC members at the dinner said they supported passage of an ENDA that specifically includes protections for transgenders, and many also related stories about their personal experiences with discrimination based on gender expression, according to TACT members who attended.
TACT board member Lisa Scheps encouraged trans activists across the country to hold similar events in their areas to improve relations with HRC.
“The rank and file of HRC needs to be educated on the issues so they can tell their leadership to shift their thinking,” Scheps said.
She said that events such as TACT’s “educational initiative” at the Austin Black Tie dinner are “the best way of positively affecting change and educating the LGBT community on issues that not only affect one subsection of the community, but the entire group.”