Introducing LTA's Trans POC Empowerment Committee: A Statement by Board Members Elliot Wade & Alexander Andersen
Since the days of our founding, Louisiana Trans Advocates has been a home to strong and resilient trans people throughout our state who work hard to support each other in our everyday lives and advocate for the rights of our community.
In 2011, when Louisiana Trans Advocates first opened its figurative doors, our founders signed onto a statement of principles that included a commitment to prioritize the inclusion of trans people of color in all activities and efforts of the organization, including programming, educational and advocacy efforts, and legislative organizing. Over the years, as leadership and membership of our organization has turned over and our work has evolved, that statement has evolved as well. Through its many iterations, we have tried to use our statement of principles as a guide for our work throughout the state, and we come back to it at least as often as we come back to our mission.
In 2018, that statement reads:
Self-determination and expression for all transgender and gender nonconforming people is a core human right.
Trans liberation depends on the empowerment of intersecting communities that experience systemic oppression, especially people of color, the poor, immigrants, people with disabilities, and women and femme-identified people.
All trans people, regardless of individual socioeconomic status should have an opportunity to participate fully in organizational activities, especially those in under-resourced, isolated, and rural communities throughout the state.
The experiences of many of our POC members, as well as the research done by countless academics and the National Center for Transgender Equality, shows clearly that trans people of color experience violence and discrimination at higher rates than white trans people. Our mission to advance the core human rights of self-determination and expression for all trans, nonbinary and gender nonconforming people in Louisiana can only be successful if it addresses the specific experiences of trans people of color in our communities.
Through LTA’s Census (still open for responses, please participate here), we have received feedback from our membership that demonstrates that LTA is not effectively addressing the needs of trans people of color and non-binary people. This honest feedback from our members has been instrumental in framing internal leadership conversations on how to change this.
To state this clearly, LTA’s leadership has not done enough to be effective at ensuring our organization is a resource, support system, and leadership pipeline for trans people of color. The work to change this has already begun, and today, we are taking the next step.
We know that to be effective advocates for trans Louisianans, we must serve ALL members of the trans community in Louisiana, with emphasis on the most marginalized. Today, we wish to reaffirm our commitment to this statement of principles, with particular focus on the second principle, which means that we are invested not just in fighting biases and prejudice, but in dismantling systems of oppression that impact trans people of color at higher rates than white trans people.
We are proud to announce that today we are launching our Trans POC Empowerment Committee. This is a POC-led leadership council that has set four goals to help LTA better achieve our mission:
Work within and alongside LTA’s Board of Directors toward dismantling systems of oppression that disempower and disenfranchise people of color within the transgender community;
Address racism within the trans community, as well as the broader LGBTQ community;
Develop anti-racism education to shift culture inside of Louisiana Trans Advocates; and
Provide ongoing recommendations to the Board of Directors.
The Trans POC Empowerment Committee is a new leadership structure inside of our organization which will address racial inequities within the trans community, and we invite you to get involved. In the coming days, we’ll be exploring with you what form that involvement will take. We welcome any and all feedback and are looking forward to working with you all to achieve our goals together.
LTA Board Member
Co-Chair, LTA Trans POC Empowerment Committee
LTA Board Vice-President
Co-Chair, LTA Trans POC Empowerment Committee
About the lta trans poc empowerment committee Co-Chairs:
Elliot is a University of Louisiana at Lafayette student currently majoring in English. In addition to the work he has been doing with LTA since 2015, Elliot writes as the African American columnist for The Vermillion, his school newspaper. When he isn’t engaged in activism, he writes and performs spoken word. Elliot’s goal for LTA is to use his voice to promote visibility and speak out against injustice.
Alexander is a queer, chicanx, non-binary person living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A creative and an empath, xyrs goal is to come up with workable solutions to many of the problems faced by the people in xyrs community. Having been an active board member of LTA since May of 2017, xe is proud to be serving as the Vice President, Development Coordinator, and Co-chair of the TPOC Empowerment Committee, in order to help all trans Louisianians flourish. Alexander is a Development Fellow at JMM Strategy Group, a national consulting firm that fundraises for progressive candidates for elected office.