Monday, June 4, 2012

Putting the ‘T’ in NeTrooTs


Post by Jennifer L. Levi, GLAD's Transgender Rights Project Director, co-editor of Transgender Family Law and a panelist on Blogging for Transgender Equality at Netroots Nation

Those who know me well will be surprised to find me joining a panel of bloggers at Netroots Nation, an international gathering of progressive online activists. While I am an aspiring tweeter and regularly reflect on my work as director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project here at Equal Justice Under Law, GLAD’s home in the blogosphere, I do the majority of my advocacy on the ground – in the courtroom, at statehouses across New England, at the negotiating table, and in the offices of policy makers and opinion leaders.

That said, the internet has been a powerful organizing tool for the transgender community, and online activism has been central to advancing our movement for transgender equality.
 Nearly fifteen years ago, I struggled to find connection to the transgender community.  I had to fly halfway across the country to Houston, Texas, to attend the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy in order to meet like-minded transgender-identified attorneys.  The trip was well worth it.  There I connected with Phyllis Frye, Shannon Minter, and Stephen Whittle, among others, committed advocates who have done and continue to do foundational work to secure transgender equality.

Today, I can go online and chat with members of my community at the touch of a few keystrokes, learn about our movement’s victories and setbacks, and take immediate action to move the ball forward. I witnessed the power of this online community in 2007 with its swift and strong response to the stripping of gender identity protections from the federal Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA).  Within hours, literally hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals stated their opposition; the bill was refiled in 2009 with the protections intact.
That’s why I’m excited that GLAD has organized Blogging for Transgender Equality: History, Challenges and Progress, the first trans-specific panel we're aware of to be hosted at Netroots Nation.
I’m even more excited about the expertise my co- panelists bring to the discussion scheduled for Friday, June 8 in Ballroom B at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

Dr. Jillian T. Weiss, a brilliant legal mind and the associate editor of The Bilerico Project, the web’s largest LGBT group blog, will moderate the panel. Activist Autumn Sandeen, who blogs about LGBT issues at the highly regarded Pam’s House Blend will also join us, along with the tireless Monica Roberts, who does some of the web’s most thorough coverage of the trans community on her blog TransGriot, and Jos Truit, an editor at, a community of young feminist activists, who blogs about trans issues.
We’ll be talking about the role of online activism in securing a place at the table for the transgender community, despite pervasive societal prejudice, and how transgender bloggers and activists can and have translated their online efforts into on the ground political and policy results, despite the political forces in opposition. We will also discuss why political allies should connect with transgender issues in their blogging and activism.
Our panelists will share examples of the powerful role this online community plays in moving rights forward, while also examining what is missing from the conversation.

You must be registered for the Netroots Nation conference to attend this panel in person. To register or for more information, visit

If you can’t make it, we’ll be live tweeting the whole discussion, naturally. And it will be streamed live on the Netroots Nation website. Our panel is from 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Follow along at #NN12 #NN12LGBT

Friday, June 8, 2012
10:30 am · 11:45 am 

Rhode Island Convention Center
1 Sabin Street
Providence, RI 02903

RSVP and help us spread the word on Facebook

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