Distinguished Service Award to Defenders of Transgender Rights
Presented by GLAA Vice President for Political Affairs Rick RosendallGLAA 38th Anniversary Reception
Washington Plaza Hotel
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Last summer, a proposed rulemaking was published in the D.C. Register that amounted to a repeal by regulation of the transgender protections in the D.C. Human Rights Act as they pertain to the Department of Corrections. Dozens of local and national LGBT advocates united in opposition. In the course of several months of negotiations and research, the rulemaking was withdrawn and a new policy developed which represents an improvement from where we were last July, though it bears monitoring. While our work is not finished, the spirit of cooperation that has been shown is a model for effective coalition work. This evening we honor three groups that played leading roles in this collective effort to defend transgender rights.
DC Trans Coalition is a grassroots community-based organization dedicated to fighting for the human rights, dignity, and equal access for transgender and gender-diverse people in the District of Columbia. It helped assemble a broad coalition in the summer of 2008 to fight a draft rulemaking from the D.C. Office of the Attorney General which would have provided what amounted to an exemption for the D.C. Department of Corrections from the provisions of the D.C. Human Rights Act prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or expression. These efforts led to an improved policy, though the coalition’s advocacy and vigilance continue.
Just Detention International is an international human rights organization dedicated to ending sexual violence in all forms of detention. JDI has three core goals for its work: to advocate for policies that ensure institutional accountability for prisoner rape; to transform ill-informed public attitudes about sexual violence in detention; and to promote access to resources for those who have survived this form of abuse. JDI makes a special effort to protect exceptionally vulnerable inmates – chief among them lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer detainees – and considers bridge-building among allied organizations central to that effort.
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs has spent 40 years representing individuals and groups seeking to vindicate their civil rights. It has become nationally known for landmark court victories, record judgments, and precedent-setting consent decrees. Its D.C. Prisoners’ Project advocates for the humane treatment and dignity of all persons convicted or charged with a criminal offense under D.C. law. The Prisoners' Project remains the only legal organization advocating for the interests of over 7,000 D.C. prisoners currently held in 99 different federal Bureau of Prisons facilities, in addition to more than 3,500 held in the D.C. Jail and the Correctional Treatment Facility.
It is my privilege to present GLAA’s Distinguished Service Award to the DC Trans Coalition, Just Detention International, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.