Monday, July 17, 2017

What's The National Trans Bar Association?

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I remember when the first International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy (ICTLEP) convention organized by Phyllis Frye happened in a southwest Houston Hilton hotel back in  August 1992.  

Those six ICTLEP conferences not only generated the International Bill of Gender Rights, laid the advocacy foundation for the modern trans rights movement and trained my generation of trans advocates, but also facilitated the coming out of many of our trans attorneys of the time and signaled the beginning of them being more open about who they are.

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Trans attorneys have played important roles in the National LGBT Bar Association and you can see many of our trans legal heroes and sheroes participating in panel discussions at the Lavender Law Conference and other events in the legal community.  Some have also been called by national networks to be pundits when legal cases involving our community are discussed.

I also know a few trans peeps who are currently enrolled in and excelling in law school right now.

And like Phyllis, Kylar Broadus, Shannon Minter, Jillian Weiss, Chase Strangio, Abby Jensen and Harper Jean Tobin just to name a few, many of them are trailblazers not only in the legal world, but trailblazing leaders in our community.

25 years have passed since that first ICTLEP conference happened, and we not only have a large, distinguished and growing cadre of trans attorneys, some of which I am proud to call my friends, I noticed that there's a new organization called the National Trans Bar Association

Related imageSo why is the founding of this organization important?  I note from my perusal of Black history that many of our human rights victories came via the court system and NAACP legal heroes and sheores like Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and Constance Baker Motley.

Our trans attorneys, like these trailblazing African American ones, have been successfully fighting in the court system for decades as advocates to advance our human rights.  Some are also working to provide the legal services our community needs.  The National Transgender Bar Association is a welcome addition to their ranks    .

The National Transgender Bar Association is based in Washington DC, and the mission of the NTBA is summed up in these four points:

*Recruiting, supporting, and developing the skills of trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) legal professionals and law school students.
*Increasing access to affordable, legally and culturally competent legal services for trans and gender nonconforming communities.
*Fostering bold, incisive and creative legal strategies to expand formal legal protections for trans and gender non conforming people and meaningfully address  issues of equity
*Elevate intersectional work and cross cultural collaborations.
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To fulfill this mission statement, in conjunction with the National LGBT Bar Association, the National Trans Bar Association will be hosting during the annual Lavender Law Conference set to take place in San Francisco August 2-4 a day long Transgender Law Institute on August 4

In light of the fact we have people in the Trump misadministration that are hostile to our human rights, this will be a timely and necessary institute.

I wish the NTBA great success and long life as an organization, and wish them even greater success in executing their mission and expanding our human rights.

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