Transgender Day of Visibility 2014
Today, March 31, is the 5th annual International Transgender Day of Visibility, when we celebrate those who have worked to elevate the powerful experiences of transgender people.
“On this Transgender Day of Visibility, I am grateful to each and every transgender person who walks bravely with their head held high,” says Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Project National Director for Lambda Legal. “We know the statistics of harassment, discrimination, and violence directed at transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. When we stand tall and visible, we demand the respect we deserve in this world.” According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 44% of reported hate murders in 2010 were committed against transgender women.
This year, Lambda Legal honors two transgender women who’ve been pioneers in our movement.
“The Transgender Day of Visibility is important because it helps to raise awareness and break down harmful stereotypes,” says Lambda Legal client Cori McCreery. “As a very out and very proud transgender woman, I consistently work to help ensure a positive image of transgender people gets delivered.”
Cori McCreery was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. While working as a supervisor at Don’s Valley Market, a local grocery chain, she notified her employer that she would be transitioning on the job. After initial assurance about her job security, she was swiftly fired, told that she was “making other employees uncomfortable” and that her employer had a “7 million dollar investment to protect.” Cori called Lambda Legal’s Help Desk, and Lambda Legal filed a complaint in March 2012 on her behalf with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claiming that her termination constitutes illegal sex-based discrimination under Title VII, the section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination in the workplace. In September of last year, Lambda Legal announced a landmark settlement for Cori, backed by the EEOC, which included $50,000, public notice on the EEOC website, public notice on the workplace bulletin board, a mandatory policy in the workplace on workplace protections, a yearly three-hour all-staff mandatory training on workplace protections and a letter of apology and letter of recommendation for Cori. Read Cori’s story in her words.
“Being visible is one of the things that we need to embrace as a community and as individuals,” says Bamby Salcedo, honoree at Lambda Legal’s upcoming 2014 West Coast Liberty Awards. “The documentary that I am a part of is named TransVisible because it’s important to be visible and be proud of who we are regardless of the obstacles that we encountered through our lives and even though society tells us otherwise, we still have to be who we are and live our lives authentically, because if we don’t we live dead in the inside. We have to normalize our community, and the only way that we are going to be able to accomplish that is by not being ashamed of who we are but rather be proud and acknowledge that as individuals and as a community we are unique and we have power. Being visible will let society know that we are a part of the whole and that it is our right to live our lives authentically. It is time to be visible, to be you, to be me, and simply just be.”
Bamby Salcedo is an advocate, activist and community organizer for trans issues including HIV prevention, policy work, criminal justice, substance abuse treatment and prevention and economic and professional development. Bamby is founder and president of the TransLatin@ Coalition. She has served as co-Chair for the Transgender Task Force with the Prevention Planning Committee of Los Angeles County, and at the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health in HIV prevention with UCSF. She has also served as a member with the National Latino AIDS Action Network (NLAAN) and is currently a member of the Transgender Service Provider Network in Los Angeles. She is the publisher for XQsi magazine, a digital LGBTQ Latin@ publication, and a board member for Unid@s, the National Latin@ LGBT Human Rights Organization. Bamby has also worked with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on health care services for trans people in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bamby is the creator and producer of the very first trans youth calendar, Angels of Change. She has participated in various state and national conferences as a presenter, plenary and keynote speaker, and is the subject of the documentary TransVisible: Bamby Salcedo’s Story.
Bamby has received the Sol Award from National Latino AIDS Awareness Day of Los Angeles in 2006, the Icon Award from TransUnity Pride of Los Angeles in 2009, the Connie Norman Leadership Award from the Christopher Street West Association in 2010, the Sheila J Kuehl Trailblazer Award from the 2011 Stoney Awards, the Women in Leadership Award from the City of West Hollywood in 2012, the Ruth Uribe Leadership Award from the Models of Pride Youth Conference in 2013 and most recently the Susan J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement at Creating Change 2014. Read an interview with Bamby from Lambda Legal’s 2010 Impacto magazine.