Like most weeks, NCTE’s staff and interns have been involved with a wide variety of projects and policy areas. We thought we’d just give you a quick snapshot of what we’ve been working on this week; just the highlights really, among many tasks.
Mara Keisling, our Executive Director, spent a significant amount of time on Capitol Hill, as usual, continuing to secure votes for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and working closely with our partners on this effort. She also did work preparing for the Veterans Administration’s upcoming release of a new policy to ensure appropriate health care for transgender veterans. Mara also gave several interviews on an act of discrimination at a Denny’s restaurant in Maine and a professor in Chicago who is transitioning on the job. In addition, Mara oversees all of the policy work being done by other staff members.
Mul Kim, our Health Policy Counsel, worked with various LGBT organizations to ensure that the regulations being promulgated to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are LGBT inclusive. Additionally, she and Mara collaborated with other organizations on efforts to make changes to the Family Medical Leave Act so that it can be used by LGBT individuals during times of family emergencies or personal health issues.
Harper Jean Tobin, our Policy Counsel, did extensive work this week finalizing a memo that we are sending with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) to help inform their training of screeners so that they can more knowledgeably and respectfully treat transgender passengers at airports across the country. She also continued her work on increasing safety and respect for transgender prisoners with a meeting on the Prison Rape Elimination Act and was part of our work with the Social Security Administration (SSA) about gender markers recorded by the SSA.
Justin Tanis, who does Communications and Education, focused this week on finalizing information that the Department of Justice has requested about gender identity as part of their implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which will include training for law enforcement officers. Justin has been helping lead the Gender Identity Working Group that is part of the Hate Crimes Coalition. He also reworked the resource section of our website to make it more user-friendly, finished up the graphics on our annual report, spoke with several reporters writing about transgender issues, and kept our tweets and Facebook updates coming.
Stephanie White, our Managing Director, is responsible for keeping the doors open and the organization moving forward. Her work this week focused on fundraising efforts, as she had conversations with two current funders, submitted two letters of interest and sent in a proposal for funding. She is also working on a project to increase efficiency and collaboration among LGBT groups in DC by exploring the possibility of co-locating office spaces and sharing resources like IT support, internet service, phone service, administrative support, and other overhead expenses. Her adorable 7 ½ week old baby, Oliver, also spent a little time in the office today providing everyone the opportunity to make silly faces and enjoy his presence.
Jazmin Sutherlin, our Administrative Assistant, scheduled trainings and interviews with the media for Mara, including an appearance next week on In the Life. She also answered the calls that came into the office, worked with our tech support people and made sure that everything ran smoothly. Jazmin performed last weekend as part of DC’s pride celebrations.
Our three interns were busy too. Tonei Glavinic is back with us this summer, this time working to create a wiki and other resources for transgender students to share about their experiences on campus. This week zie spoke with advisors at American University to gather information about categories to include and also worked with our coalition partners about educating Congress on ENDA.
Rebekah Fasel, one of our legal interns, worked on memos. One outlines Federal Conscious Clause laws and how they may relate to transgender people’s access to health care, while a second looks at current and suggested policy for transgender students, including their rights to be free from sex discrimination under Title IX. She also worked on an additional memo on problems in accessing health care for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients
We welcomed Eliot Kennedy, also a legal intern, who started on Wednesday. Eliot is already hard at work doing research on trends in medical care use by low-income transgender populations.
There’s just a quick glimpse at what we’re up to …