We are so grateful to be a part of this year's #TransWk of Awareness and today's Trans Day of Remembrance #TDOR. It is a privilege to be a partner to and a part of New Mexico's trans and gender nonconforming community.
We love our trans family, and want to recognize our Board members Adrien Lawyer (Co-Director, Transgender Resource Center of NM), Alma Rosa Silva Bañuelos (Director, UNM LGBTQ Resource Center), and Janice Devareaux (trans political activist extraordinaire); our Program Coordinator, Akasha Luke; and our former Administrative guru, Zane Stephens - all of whom identify as trans and/or gender nonconforming, and are a big part of why EQNM is where it is today.
We are a privileged organization. As such, we take responsibility for ensuring that the privilege we are able to access is distributed to those most affected in our community. Recently, our Board of Directors decided to define the primary "community" we serve as those most affected by injustice and violence, and we are proud and resolute in our commitment to put our resources where they are most needed.
We continue to partner in everything we do with Transgender Resource Center of NM (TGRCNM), investing at least a third of our grant dollars in their valuable expertise, experience and resources. It's not charity - it's common sense to work with some of the fiercest trans activists, ever.
Through our efforts in collaboration with organizations like TGRCNM, Strong Families New Mexico, NM GSA Network, UNM LGBTQ Resource Center, Young Women United, GLSEN Albuquerque, Solace Crisis Treatment Center, IMPACT Personal Safety, PFLAG, and Southwest Women's Law Center, we have been able to make significant strides toward achieving comprehensive trans student policies in public school districts around the state, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and soon to be Las Cruces. Additionally, through our work with TGRCNM and National Center for Lesbian Rights, the New Mexico Athletics Association is considering a policy change to allow trans student athletes to participate on sports teams according to their gender identity, without the requirement of surgery.
Earlier this year, we worked with ACLU-NM, TGRCNM, and Southwest Women's Law Center to get trans exclusions removed from New Mexico Medicaid plans, and we have strongly advocated in favor of the currently proposed federal rule change to require ALL exchange-based plans to remove trans exclusions.
And, finally, by the end of this calendar year, we will have invested nearly $10,000 in the newly formed and fiercely fabulous New Mexico Trans Women of Colour Coalition (Facebook page coming soon!), of which our own Akasha Luke is a co-founder. (Make sure to attend their celebration and fundraiser tomorrow, Saturday, 2pm at Young Women United.)
Over the past seven years, more than 1,700 trans and gender diverse people have been murdered worldwide. This is staggering, and we must, as community, do everything we can to stop this transphobic, ablelist, misogynistic, and racist violence against our trans and gender nonconforming family members. Make no mistake - we will NEVER "drop the T." We meant it when, in 2014, we identified Trans Community Advocacy as a primary strategic priority for EQNM. We still mean it now, and for the duration.
Tonight, we remember the 81 known trans people murdered in the past year because of their trans identity; and, more often than not, because of their trans identity and skin color. Yes, tonight we mourn, honor, and remember. But, tomorrow, we act.