If you asked me what I would most like people to know about the National Center for Transgender Equality, I’d need to name a few things: we have a truly remarkable board and staff, we do exceptional work with almost no resources, and our federal agenda is really, really complex. I hope that the quality of our board, staff, and work shows. However, I do sometimes think that the community doesn’t always see the breadth and complexity of the work we do.
In late 2007, when we knew that a new Presidential administration was imminent, we began a process to really dig into and understand all the federal policies that needed to be adjusted to be fairer for trans people. Most bad policies weren’t intentionally hurtful to us; they just ignored us or didn’t anticipate us.
Late in 2008, we released a list of policies we wanted changed and we set about changing them. Since then, we’ve had some very important successes like working with the State Department to update their passport gender marker rules and working with the Social Security Administration to get them to stop sending gender no-match letters that effectively out trans people to employers. We’ve also had dozens of other successes, big and small.
Of course, we haven’t been working alone. We work with a lot of great allies in a bunch of different LGBT and other progressive organizations, and their work has mattered so much. We’ve also been pleased that the Obama administration has been willing to hear our concerns and when we are right (which, of course, is always), they work to fix them. In fact, as we noted previously, the White House has even hosted several listening sessions we organized on transgender issues.
In the three years since we issued our last federal agenda, we have developed an even better and deeper understanding of the dozens of federal policies and programs that still need our attention, and we are pleased to share that with you now in our roadmap called, “A Blueprint for Equality: A Federal Agenda for Transgender People.”
The agenda includes 99 policy solutions in 17 broad policy areas. You probably know we’ve been working on ENDA for years, but you might not know about some of the other economic opportunity areas we are working on, let alone our work for trans seniors or inclusion in federal health surveys. Anyone who wants to understand the whole range of trans federal policy will appreciate reading each section to understand why these issues matter, what’s already been done, and what work is left to do.
Of course there is more to what NCTE does than just list policies we want to fix. We do research, we write memos, we facilitate meeting after meeting and we work with really great allies—in other trans and LGBT groups, progressive organizations in other movements, and some dedicated public servants throughout the federal government. Still, I hope this Blueprint helps folks better understand the work that NCTE’s remarkable little staff has been so focused on, so successfully, for the last few years.