WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation will launch its groundbreaking, new Parents for Transgender Equality Council, a coalition of the nation's leading parent-advocates working for equality and fairness for transgender people. The council's launch begins HRC's commemoration of Transgender Week of Awareness, dedicated to the progress, continued challenges, and unfinished work in the fight for transgender equality.
Transgender young people have been thrust into the center of the national debate on transgender equality. Increasingly, parents of transgender children and young people have played an integral role in educating the country and pushing back against hateful, anti-transgender efforts in communities and states across the country. This year, more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures and many specifically targeted transgender students. Similar attacks are expected next year and despite significant progress over the last several years on transgender equality, the results of last week's election have put many of the advancements at the federal level at risk. And Congress is currently considering the Russell Amendment which would allow for religious discrimination against LGBTQ employees in all federally funded programs.
"Parents of transgender children are on the frontlines of the fight for transgender equality," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "In the days since the election, transgender people and their parents have reached out to us filled with fear and questions about what the results of the election mean for their families. These parents, standing shoulder to shoulder with transgender people, are going to be vital in our continued effort to defend our progress, open hearts, and demonstrate to this country that transgender people are loved and worthy of being treated with dignity and fairness."
HRC's Parents for Transgender Equality Council will connect, mobilize, and amplify many of the most powerful voices of love, inclusion, and support for transgender equality. The new council includes many of the nation's most prominent parent-advocates, including:
Debi and Tom Jackson
Ofelia Barba Navarro
Michelle Honda-Phillips and Travis Phillips
Amber and Adam Briggle
Wayne and Kelly Ann Maines
Louis Porter II and Ea Porter
Joanne and Changho Lee
Peter and Sarah Tchoryk
Vanessa and JR Ford
Jeff and Hillary Whittington
Deshanna and Chris Neal
Among the inspiring advocates are Jeanette Jennings, mom of Jazz Jennings and star of TLC's I Am Jazz; Amber and Adam Briggle, who recently hosted Texas' anti-equality Attorney General for dinner and a personal conversation about their transgender son; Wayne and Kelly Ann Maines, whose family's journey was chronicled in a recent novel Becoming Nicole; and Joanne and Changho Lee who tragically lost their transgender child to suicide and have turned their own loss into a drive to fight for transgender equality.
"Now, more than ever, I am glad to be part of this group of parents to help show that transgender children come from every kind of family imaginable. We represent different states, ethnic and racial groups, religious traditions, and political ideologies. Together, in that diversity, we will be stronger in working to educate and fight for equality for trans youth and the entire LGBTQ community," said parent-advocate and council member Debi Jackson.
Many of the council's members, including Jodie Patterson, JR Ford, Ofelia Barba Navarro, and Michelle Honda-Phillips, were featured in HRC's viral Moms and Dads for Transgender Equality videos.
Several members of the council will attend a launch event today at 11 AM in Washington, D.C. At the launch, the parents in attendance will share their moving personal stories that underscore the urgency and stakes of this effort. Journalists looking to cover the event can request a credential by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . The event will also be livestreamed on HRC's Facebook page.
During Transgender Week of Awareness, HRC will dedicate each day to urgent and important issues facing the transgender community, including support for youth and families, workplace equality, access to life-saving and inclusive health care, and combatting violence against the transgender community. The week concludes with with Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th when the community comes together for vigils around the country to honor those lost in the past year.