Which tactics and/or strategies has your movement utilized?
Because the goals of our movement has always been to normalize and bring awareness for important trans issues, advocacy and raising general awareness towards the movement itself was always the primary priority. That being said, the most effective strategies and tactics have been ones that created dialogue amongst the “outsiders” of the movement, those who did not identify as trans or as allies.
Violence against trans people (and especially of trans people of color) is one of the primary issues that the movement has focused on. In 1998, a trans woman named Rita Hester was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts. Her death triggered an outpour of support from not only the black community, who led a candlelight vigil in her honor the following week, but also by the trans community. Her death inspired a web project called “Remembering Our Dead.” It also led to the creation of the international Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day dedicated to remembering victims of anti-transgender violence. These non-violent yet seemingly “aggressive” attacks to heteronormative and cis-normative constructs are especially effective because of the minimal damage the movement can withstand. In the face of violent attacks from a vague enemy figure, the trans movement chose to retaliate with powerful and emotionally-charged non-violent protest.
Just as Dr. Robinson, our guest speaker, mentioned in his work with ACT UP, the trans community operated on genuine human emotion. Dr. Robinson spoke briefly about the pain and anger that came from losing loved ones within the community and losing even members within ACT UP. When his partner Warren passed as a result of the government’s negligence of the dire AIDS epidemic, there was a sense of immense grief that came with losing a loved one that manifested itself in the public funeral. Avenging the death of their community seemed natural and unforced. Just as ACT UP connected the funeral’s emotional power to the movement’s message, the trans right movement used a variety of interpersonal ties to communicate the goals of their mission to raise awareness. The movement will support all things trans from public candlelight vigils for deaths, to public trans figures in entertainment, to more “direct action” that manifests itself in the creation of the Transgender Law Center. Through the changing of laws, we’ve had a trans woman serve on Hawaii’s board of education, an openly transgender mayor, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission protect trans employees.
The trans rights movement seeks primarily to create a paradigm shift about the public’s perception of gender and gender norms. Then, it seeks, through direct action such as the Transgender Law Center, to change the laws that govern such a social construct.
Allen, Samantha. “The Trans Murder That Started a Movement.” The Daily Beast. Accessed October 12, 2016. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/20/the-trans-murder-that-started-a-movement.html.
Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Senior Strategist, Entertainment Media |. “Timeline: A Look Back at the History of Transgender Visibility.” GLAAD. 2012. Accessed October 12, 2016. http://www.glaad.org/blog/timeline-look-back-history-transgender-visibility.