august 2019

GOP Louisiana gubernatorial candidate defends anti-trans campaign ad: ‘Not one discriminatory bone in my body’

Louisiana Trans Advocates President Dylan Waguespack said in response to Abraham’s “newest ad, ironically titled ‘The Truth,’” that candidate is “desperate for attention and has resorted to scraping up a few votes by mocking his constituents who are just trying to live their lives, do their jobs, and provide for their families.”

If Abraham is not interested in “improving the quality of life for everyone in Louisiana,” Waguespack added, “he has no business being in charge.”

new york daily news / read full article

January 2019

Candidate for Orleans School Board president
faces backlash over LGBT views

LGBTQ civil rights organizations state Ellison has an anti-LGBTQ record that puts students at risk. Alexander Andersen, vice president of the Board of Directors for Louisiana Trans Advocates, said in a released statement Wednesday that Ellison’s election to school board president “would make LGBTQ students in Orleans Parish schools unsafe and unwilling to go to the school board if they experienced discrimination.”

The organizations cite concerns about Ellison’s candidacy stemming in part from Ellison’s 2012 state legislature testimony in support of a bill letting charter schools exclude gay students, according to an article from | The Times-Picayune at that time. Ellison, a charter school board leader at the time, told lawmakers she couldn’t sign a contract with the anti-discrimination clause spelled out by the Louisiana Department of Education, which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation, because that contract violated both the separation of powers as well as the freedom of religion. | the times-picayune / read full article

november 2018

Thousands of Louisiana healthcare providers are hitting back at Trump over attack on trans rights

More than 3,250 health care providers in Louisiana have signed onto an open letter against the Health and Human Services proposal to narrow the definition of “gender,” effectively erasing transgender people from federal law. The letter was released by Louisiana Trans Advocates, who are sending it to officials from both HHS and the Department of Justice, as well as key Louisiana government officials.

Those signing the open letter agree that the narrowing of the definition by the HHS is not scientifically sound, noting that, “This definition of sex contradicts the irrefutable fact of the existence of not only transgender people, but also intersex people.”

“While intersex conditions are not the same as transgender identity, in both cases, a patient’s gender identity is understood by the professional medical and behavioral health community to be determinant of their sex,” the open letter continues.

lgbtq nation / read full article

october 2018

New Orleans advocates, allies to rally for transgender rights following Trump administration plans to roll back protections

Dylan Waguespack with Louisiana Trans Advocates says while it’s difficult to gauge the scope of the policy based on a leaked memo, “what we’re seeing is a proposal that stands in total conflict with what the medical community has known about sex and gender for a very long time.”

The organization reiterates that multiple court rulings already have interpreted existing laws to include legal protections for transgender people.

“The Trump-Pence administration cannot choose to follow only the laws that suit their political purposes and they cannot erase the existence of transgender Americans across our country,” the statement says.

gambit / read full article

september 2018

Trans Woman Shot to Death in Louisiana

A transgender woman was shot to death in Shreveport, La., early Thursday morning, the second homicide of a trans woman reported that day.

Vontashia Bell, 18, was found on a Shreveport street about 4:30 a.m., having been shot in the upper body, the Shreveport Times reports, although it misgendered and deadnamed her. She was pronounced dead shortly afterward at a local hospital. Louisiana Trans Advocates provided her correct name and gender in a press release.

advocate / read full article

august 2018

Governor responds after AG's office asks to limit LGBT protections in Louisiana

Opponents call this a political attack on the humanity of transgender people. "The message is that we do not see trans people as worthy people to protect from discrimination and we'd like to make sure that folks know that if they are trans that they're on notice and I think that that is a dangerous, hateful message," said Dylan Waguespack, LA Trans Advocates board chair.

knoe monroe / read full article

august 2018

2 More Black Trans Women Shot and Killed in Growing Epidemic

Vontashia Bell is not the first transgender woman to be killed in Louisiana this year. Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, died in Baton Rogue, also from gunshot wounds. She too was misgendered and deadnamed in initial reports. Louisiana Trans Advocates said in a statement:

Vontashia Bell must not die in vain. Her murder is a reminder of the current climate and national discourse on trans issues. Dehumanizing language and actions lower the barriers to this kind of senseless violence. Shreveport and Louisiana leaders must speak out against these killings, against the ongoing, systemic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics, and against the institutional racism that places almost all of this burden on trans women of color.

New Now Next / Read Full Article

august 2018

The Crisis Grows: Two Transgender Women Murdered On the Same Day in Chicago, Louisiana

Rebecca Norris, president of the Shreveport Chapter of Louisiana Trans Advocates, said information about Bell’s death trickled in on Thursday, while her organization rushed to track down Bell’s Facebook friends. “We were able to determine that she was indeed transgender,” said Norris. “She has just recently come back out. Evidently she went back in the closet for quite a while, and she came about out the first of August, and that was verified.” 

On August 29, Bell posted on her Facebook page that she felt like “being my old self again.” The proclamation comes above a selfie. In it, she has long hair and sunglasses. Her hand is held in a defiant fist, and she’s smiling.

INTO / Read Full Article

august 2018

Majority of speakers at council meeting support drag queen story time

"This is what it looks like to prevent bullying and exclusion: show your school age children that queer and trans people are not subhuman, they aren’t exoctic, and they aren’t wrong for existing as they are. This is what it looks like to lower the suicide rate of queer kids: showing them that it’s okay to be who they are. LGBTQIA+ kids who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide than those who reported no or low levels of family rejection.

Delta Lambda Phi is giving parents of Lafayette the opportunity to foster conversations on what it means to be different and how to accept folks that are different from us. It is shameful that Lafayette citizens and city officials would condemn an opportunity to bridge the gaps in their own community. Louisiana officials are far behind the times: maybe they should read a book or two.”

KATC Lafayette / Read Full Article

MARCH 2018

Woman shot dead in Louisiana motel becomes seventh transgender woman killed in US this year

“Violence against trans people, mostly trans women of color and often resulting in death, continues to plague our communities. We must also recognize that the shameful content and tone of the national discourse on trans issues contribute to stigmatization and dehumanization that lower the barriers to this kind of violence,” the group Louisiana Trans Advocates said. 

the New York times / Read Full Article

march 2018

Louisiana equal pay protections, minimum wage increase clear Senate committee

The committee also passed Carter's Senate Bill 291, which adds sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in workplace discrimination laws. The measure was supported by LGBTQ advocacy group Louisiana Trans Advocates.

Gambit weekly / Read Full Article

march 2018

Lawsuit: Angola prison guards ordered transgender visitor to strip

Dylan Waguespack, board president of Louisiana Trans Advocates, said mistreatment of transgender people is a pervasive problem in the state's prisons and jails. Transgender prisoners are often subjected to dehumanizing conditions and aren't adequately protected from violence from corrections officers and other inmates, he said.

The Baton Rouge advocate / Read Full Article

november 2017

Appeals court upholds ruling that Gov. Edwards overstepped with LGBT rights order

Dylan Waguespack, president of Louisiana Trans Advocates, called the appellate court decision “a clear step backwards in Louisiana’s journey to becoming a state that welcomes all families to try to earn a living here and all businesses in search of a welcoming, business-friendly climate.”

the Baton Rouge advocate / read full article

march 2017

'Frightened': Murders of 3 transgender women in Louisiana shake LGBT community

One officer does not represent a culture change, said Sebastian Rey, a New Orleans-area resident who works with Louisiana Trans Advocates. Rey said some NOPD officers, like Robertson, "will climb mountains to get you justice." But others come to crime scenes with personal biases on full display. They assume transgender people participate in the "street economy," he said, which may not be the case. 

"They view us as being part of the problem, rather than just an innocent victim. And that's not accurate," he said. Some transgender crime victims are reluctant to report crimes because other transgender crime victims have sought help from NOPD only to get their "priors checked" and their "purse searched," he said.  

the times-picayune / read full article

march 2017

Do Louisiana hate crime laws cover transgender people?

Some Louisiana transgender advocates aren't much concerned about whether they are included in local hate crimes statutes. "Hate crimes legislation does not actually protect people. It is not a deterrent," said Dylan Waguespack of Louisiana Trans Advocates. Instead, Waguespack said, it would be more helpful to have more protections for transgender people seeking housing and employment. New Orleans and Shreveport ban housing and employment discrimination based on gender identity, but no other city in Louisiana does.

the times-picayune / read full article

JULY 2016

Waguespack: Discrimination hurts tourism, business

It’s only our reputation as a fair-minded place to do business that has us poised to pick up next year’s NBA All-Star Game. The NBA's decision to move the All-Star game sends a clear message to any city or state that wants to host a major sports event — you can't compete if you're not inclusive.

The Baton Rouge advocate / Read Full Article

april 2016

Louisiana's "Pastor Protection Act" gets committee support

Matthew Patterson, Managing Director of Equality Louisiana, and Dylan Waguespack, Board Member of Louisiana Trans Advocates, wrote in a statement that "our legislators made the choice to take our state a step backward."

"They’ve made it clear that they prioritize discrimination over fairness and economic stability," the statement reads. "[The bill] opens the door for employers to deny benefits to workers, doctors to refuse treatment to patients, shelters to turn away homeless LGBT people, and much more, with merely a religious belief as justification."

gambit weekly / read full article

April 2016

LGBT advocates say bill reversing 'Hire NOLA' would void anti-discrimination laws

Corinne Green, representing Louisiana Trans Advocates, said Appel's bill would "illegalize requirements not to discriminate against people." That witness pointed out that other Southern states are catching flak for passing laws that are harmful to the transgender population. "These kinds of things, they just don't play well. Think about the implications for LGBT people across the entire state. Let the cities decide their own values."

the times-picayune / read full article

september 2015

Louisiana Trans Advocates, Equality Louisiana pushing for change to 1986 OMV policy

"Louisiana Trans Advocates and Equality Louisiana acknowledge that no one should misrepresent themselves or aim to deceive others when taking the photo for their driver's license. Transgender people are not trying to deceive anyone. They only wish to live their lives as who they are," said Matthew Patterson, research and policy coordinator for Equality Louisiana, the statewide group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organizations, in a statement.

the times-picayune / read full article

september 2015

OMV will not change ID policies, but will allow transgender people to appear as themselves in photos

Matt Patterson, with the Louisiana Trans Advocates, applauded the agency for allowing transgender people to get their photos taken appearing as they would prefer. But he said the group will continue to urge OMV to codify that interpretation “into a written policy.”

the Baton Rouge advocate / read full article

september 2015

Transgender driver told she can't 'misrepresent' self as a woman in license photo, setting off review of Louisiana policy

As Corinne Green, of Louisiana Trans Advocates, put it, “A lot of trans people feel like they were misrepresenting themselves before transition. So there’s no misrepresentation or attempts to misguide when trans people are just trying to get a picture that accurately reflects their identification.”

the Baton Rouge advocate / read full article

june 2015

Caitlyn Jenner prompts celebration, and reservations, among New Orleans' transgender community

She waited until her 60s to transition from man to woman, wonders if she waited too long, but is gratified to have been a father to her children. Perhaps more than most, Elizabeth "Lizzy" Jenkins, the 68-year-old president of Louisiana Trans Advocates, can relate to Caitlyn Jenner, 65, whose appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair this week brought transgender issues to the forefront of public dialogue.

the times-picayune / read full article

may 2015

A Nice Afternoon With The Women Of New Orleans' Trans Veterans Support Group

There’s a 7-year-old boy, assigned female at birth, in one of her Louisiana Trans Advocates support groups whose parents are going to waylay his puberty with hormone blockers if he still identifies as a male when the time comes. “I wish I could’ve started when I was 16,” Donna Jean says. “It would’ve made all the difference in the world. If I coulda done it when I was 20, my life would’ve been totally different. But it didn’t work out that way.”

buzzfeed / read full article

June 2014

Transgender woman enslaved, tortured in central Louisiana, newspapers say; three arrested

"The leaders and members of Louisiana Trans Advocates and Equality Louisiana are full of grief and sadness today as we learn that a transgender woman has been held captive and tortured by three individuals in the Ajax area of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. She was systematically abused, assaulted and dehumanized by her captors for months. Through her remarkable strength and resilient hope, she fought to survive and successfully escaped captivity. Though law enforcement are often not allies to transgender women, she was courageous enough to work with them in order to prevent her captors from doing this to anyone else in the future."

the times-picayune / read full article

June 2013

Baton Rouge Pride Fest and march to Capitol celebrate LGBT community, push for equality

“We want to show the world that we are human beings,” said Elizabeth Jenkins, president of Louisiana Trans Advocates and one of the speakers at the march, “and each and every one of us deserves the same rights that everybody else in the United States has.”

the times-picayune / read full article