Mangos with Chili


Mission, Vision, Impact: “Mangos With Chili is a North American touring, Bay Area based arts incubator committed to showcasing high quality performance of life saving importance by queer and trans artists of color to audiences in the Bay Area and beyond. Our goal is to produce high-quality multi-genre performances reflecting the lives and stories of queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) and speaking out in resistance to the daily struggles around silence, isolation, homophobia and violence that QTPOC face…Mangos With Chili’s multi-genre productions present work in the disciplines of dance, theater, vaudeville, hip-hop, circus arts, music, spoken word and film. More than a performance incubator, we are also a ritual space for queer and trans communities of color to come together in love, conversation and transformation. Our goal is to present high quality performance art by QTPOC, but so much of our work is also about creating healing and transformative space through performances that are gathering places for QTPOC community.”

Funding: “We feel that it is important to be very transparent about the fact that we have had very little core funding over the years and operated on a very sparse budget. Our work does not neatly fit into the visions of funders who operate under the white supremacist hetero ablest patriarchy. We refuse to be tokenized. We refuse to filter or tame our work. We refuse to shift our message or description about who we are or who/what we are here for to appease those with power…We are also deeply thankful for our beloved community members, who have filled passed hats and Paypals, given us venues, videography and places to sleep, given us hugs and encouragement when we felt like giving up, and been our most consistent source of support. We have always said that capitalism doesn’t love us, but our communities do. We have been able to keep operating due to this support, as well as the support of countless community members.”

Throughout the semester, we have learned about various forms of oppressions against transgender people and specifically transgender people of color. We have also discussed various forms of resistance. I related Mangos with Chili with our reading for today, “Performance as Intravention: Ballroom Culture and the Politics of HIV/AIDS in Detroit,” because Bailey argues in their piece that communities “at-risk” (of HIV/AIDS, in this example) are also communities “of care” whose members support each other in various ways (intravention). For the members of the ballroom culture in Detroit, community support meant creating a counter-discourse, providing social support for its members and producing prevention balls in order to reduce Black queer people’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection through competitive performance.

Mangos with Chili also provide similar support for each other by providing spaces of healing, transformation, dialogue, visibility and centering of queer and trans people of color.

Both forms of transformative community spaces serve as a form of resistance to the contrasting oppressive social and political contexts that members live in.


Upcoming Event
Blood Story, Bone Memory, Skin Legacy: A Ritual in Corporealities: “In Blood Story, Bone Memory, Skin Legacy, artists explore the queering of ancestral memory, navigating these living moments mapped in our bodies, in queer blood and bones. Bearing witness to the stories held in our queer bodily experience, we heal and transform through the power of embodied truth.”

Upcoming Event at Brava Theatre:





Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP)



Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) has been a grass roots project from beginning to future. It was organized by hundreds of community members who’ve committed their time and energy to the organization over the past 21 years. In a city that is rapidly changing to cater to the one-percent at every level, CAMP is one of the last remaining truly punk venues in San Francisco. The project is in constant dialogue, continuously involved in a struggle of expression that plays out in a vibrant conversation down its length. Some of this dialogue includes protests against domestic violence, war and aggression, or is in support of transgender activism.

In 2012 a mural by artist Tanya Wischerath honoring trans women activists was just unveiled on Clarion Alley. The mural features images of youth activist Mia Tu Mutch, recently deceased community advocate Alexis Rivera, Janetta Louise-Johnson, and Tamara Ching.

 Wischerath inscribed this dedication on the wall beside the mural:

The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot occurred in August 1966 in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. This incident was one of the first recorded transgender riots in United States history, preceding the more famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Although San Francisco continues to lead in the struggle for equal rights for the LGBTQI community, trans women are often left behind and in the fight for visibility. This mural is a dedication to the work of just a few trans activists out of many who have tirelessly committed themselves to paving the way for a more just, accepting, and righteous San Francisco.

“Painting this was humbling in all respects, and the work these women are doing and have been doing for a long time is bigger than one mural,” Wischerath told the Guardian in an email interview. The mural focuses on activists who are close to the Bay Area community for a more immediate feel, and was inspired by the fierce queens in Paris is Burning, a 1990 documentary of ball culture in New York.

I related this project back primarily to Jessi Gan’s piece, Still at the Back of the Bus. Sylvia Rivera, a combatant at the 1969 Stonewall Inn Riots, played a major role in sparking the contemporary lesbian and gay rights movement. Gan writes, “some formulations of queer and transgender politics assert the signal importance of visibility” (Gan 297). The stonewall riots are representative of trans people “opting to break the silence” in a way that challenges gender normativity. It is celebrated as queer and trans people “coming out” in a quest for “freedom.” The narrative of the Stonewall Riots and of Sylvia Rivera’s experiences as a trans person of color encourages questions relating to visibility and how that visibility is influenced by power and privilege. Tanya Wischerath’s mural is similar to the Stonewall riots in the sense that it gives a positive form of visibility to the transgender activists it celebrates. However, Rivera’s experiences show that queer/trans visibility “is not a simple binary; multiple kinds of visibilities, differentially situated in relation to power, intersect and overlap peoples lives” (Gan 297). Rivera’s story also shows that relations to power as well as location, influence queer/trans visibility. Institutions of power project gendered and racialized meanings onto people, which means that not all spaces will be accepting of various forms of identity.

SF Mural Arts Website

IGLYO-International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organization


Sylvia River’s 

Sylvia Rivera, a veteran of the 1969 Stonewall uprising and a persistent voice for the rights of people of color and low-income queer and trans people, SRLP started providing free legal help to trans New Yorkers in 2002. Since then, SRLP has used precedent-setting litigation, policy reform work, public education and direct services to address the myriad issues facing trans communities and provided help to thousands of people in crisis. SRLP’s work has changed the conversation about trans rights, putting poverty and racism at the center, and building awareness about the dangers trans people face in prisons, jails, immigration systems, foster care and homeless shelters.


IGLYO is the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation. IGLYO is a network gathering LGBTQ youth and student organisations in Europe and beyond. It is run for and by young people.


Their Vision:

IGLYO’s vision is a world where we, young people in all our diversity, are able to express and define our own sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions without discrimination, violence or hatred. We work for a world where we can participate without limitation in our lives and communities, so we can rise to our full potential, enjoying respect, celebration and Positve Recognition.

Their Mission:

Run by young people, for young people, IGLYO is an international membership-based umbrella organisation that aims to empower and enable its Members to ensure representation of LGBTQ youth and student issues. IGLYO’s approach promotes cooperation and joint strategies, and often advocates on behalf of Members to international bodies, institutions and other organisations.

What I liked about this organiztion is that in 2007 IGLYO started publishing a quarterly periodical called IGLYO On… which provides thematic information for LGBTQ youth and students organisations in their fight for equality and justice.

The fact that IGLYO On is written by volunteers it enables young people across Europe to contribute their perspective to the LGBTQ movement. The publication is distributed to all member organisations and partners and is published online and in print four times a year.

Undertaken on the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 2009, the IGLYO memories project is an initiative to celebrate the organization’s unique and vibrant history of LGBTQ youth activism.


The Audre Lorde Project

From the article entitled “Artful Concealment and Strategic Visibility: Transgender Bodies and U.S. State Surveillance After 9/11” written by Toby Beauchamp:

From his article, Toby Beauchamp wrote about how surveillance and security policies affect trans populations. These policies were created from the aftermath of Al Qaeda’s attacks on September 11, 2001. Beauchamp argues that transgender and gender-noncomforming bodies are more susceptible and likely suspected of criminal intent due from the assumption of practicing deception through perceived gender presentation. These new policies help form normatively gendered bodies and behaviors, which affect the people who differ from the dominant gender norms. It is deeply rooted in the monitoring and enforcement of normatively gendered bodies, behaviors, and identities. Beauchamp is critical of gender-normatizing aspects of security surveillance. Because of these new policies, (such as the Real ID Act, no-match policy, and 2001 USA PATRIOT Act), and the Department of Home Security (DHS) Advisory, trans populations would be targeted as suspicious and subjected to new levels of vigilance. The new surveillance and security policies focuses not necessarily on transgender identity, but more on targeting perceived gender deviance and those that don’t comply to the dominant gender norms. (The DHS advisory does not specifically write the term transgender populations in their text, it doesn’t mean it is not relevant to trans populations.) (Beauchamp 49)


Who is Audre Lorde?

Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde was born on February 18, 1934, in New York City. She was known as the leading African-American writer (of poetry and essays) and also internationally known as an activist and artist, along with being the Black feminist, lesbian, poet, mother, and warrior who gave voice to the oppressed people. She plays an important role in the discussion about the struggles for the liberation among oppressed people. Lorde expresses how it is important to unify and organize a coalition across differences. These differences are from issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, age, and ability; along with the issue of identity. Lorde considers herself a warrior because she refuse to be victimized by breast cancer. She even wrote about her struggle over her battle with breast cancer from her nonfiction work, The Cancer Journals, 1980. She continued to be remembered today for being a great warrior poet who valiantly fought many personal and political battles with her words. Audre Lorde died on November 17, 1992 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Works by the Author


  • The Collected Poems Of Audre Lorde (1997)
  • The Marvelous Arithmetics Of Distance: Poems 1987-1992 (1993)
  • Undersong: Chosen Poems Old And New (1992)
  • Our Dead Behind Us (1986)
  • Chosen Poems: Old and New (1982)
  • The Black Unicorn (1978)
  • Coal (1976)
  • Between Ourselves (1976)
  • The New York Head Shop and Museum (1974)
  • From a Land Where Other People Live (1973)
  • Cables to Rage (1970)
  • The First Cities (1968)


  • Burst of Light (1988)
  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984)
  • Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982)
  • The Cancer Journals (1980)

What is the Audre Lorde Project (ALP) about?


The Audre Lorde Project (ALP) is a community organizing center for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, two-spirit, trans and gender non-conforming (LGBTSTGNC) people of color communities. This progressive organization is located in the New York City area. Their mission is to reflect, represent and serve their various communities that are struggling across differences (race, gender, sex, class, age, and ability). The ALP work for community wellness and seek for progressive social and economic justice “through mobilization, education, and capacity-building”. (Capacity building is basically an conceptual approach that refers to strengthening the skills, competencies, and abilities of people and communities in developing societies so they can overcome the causes of their exclusion and suffering.” The goal of community capacity building is to tackle the problems that are related to the policy and methods of development while considering the potential, limits, and needs of the people of the community or communities concerned.)

The history of the ALP was first formed in 1994 by the Advocates for Gay Men of Color (a multi-racial network of gay men of color HIV policy advocates). The goal of the ALP expanded in order to address the multiple issues that face their diverse communities, (which is the LGBTSTGNC People of Color communities). The ALP is also described as a place  “to serve as a home base that LGBTST peoples of African / Black/ Caribbean, Arab, Asian & Pacific Islander, Latina/o, and Native/Indigenous descent can use to organize, support, and advocate for our diverse communities.” As a whole, their community strategies can be unified because these multiple issues are intersectional to one another.  Their commonality is shared through their collective histories of struggle against discrimination and other forms of oppression.


“TransJustice is a political group created by and for Trans and Gender Non-conforming people of color. TransJustice works to mobilize its communities and allies into action on the pressing political issues they face, including gaining access to jobs, housing, and education; the need for Trans-sensitive healthcare, HIV-related services, and job-training programs; resisting police, government and anti-immigrant violence.”

How does the ALP relate to Beauchamp’s article? (Such as its connection to this week’s theme: “Biopolitics, Neoliberalism, & Administrative Violence) How does it help us understand ALP? How does ALP illustrate and/or complicates the ongoing course discussion?

The Audre Lorde Project work to seek economic and social justice for LGBTSTGNC people of color organizations and communities across differences. This progressive organization is connected to Beauchamp’s article because it’s important to recognize how the state surveillance and security policies does not affect only the trans populations, but can be expanded to discuss how it also affect other various, diverse groups. It’s important to organize a coalition to unite diverse communities to work together on their multiple issues and to not polarize them, in order to not create marginalized groups. If the “us vs. them” is created to polarize communities, then it’ll place certain marginalized groups to be more highly scrutinized. Certain marginalized groups would be more vulnerable and susceptible to oppression and discrimination.

Administrative law plays an important role in the ALP and Beauchamp’s article. Administrative law is a tool that “structures and reproduces vulnerability for trans populations”, as said by Dean Spade from his book “Administrative Law and Critical Trans Politics”. (Spade 29) (As mentioned from a previous lecture, Dean Spade is one of the lead thinkers on trans politics and law.) The policing of immigrant populations is one instance to how administrative law is important as a tool. The legal measures of administrative law includes documentation, such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and passports. Without these legal documentation, (or lack of a single gender marking), undocumented immigrants would have a hard time getting a job. Racial profiling plays a role in the surveillance and security measures due to the Advisory’s focus on Al-Qaeda, such as Islamophobia. Other systems that relate to these measures are sexism, classism, and heterosexism. (Beauchamp 50)

As explained from Beauchamp’s article, transgender advocacy organizations has argued against these surveillance and security policies in how they affect transgender individuals. One such argument is the equal access of privacy rights, in order to protect  trans employees and gender-nonconforming employees. This way, the medical information on an employee’s gender would be left as only a private and privileged information. It may benefit trans employees and gender-noncomforming employees, but it does fail to consider how other groups are affected by equal assess to privacy rights, such as “undocumented immigrants, prisoners, and individuals suspected of terrorism, who may or may not be transgender-identified or perceived as gender-nonconforming”. (Beauchamp 54) This plays into the complexity within transgender studies in relation to surveillance and security policies because it questions which bodies are recognized as legitimate and which bodies are seen as suspicious? It’s based on how gender normativity forms the expected norms of society. It also relates to how those who differ from the expected gender norms are compared to the ideals of whiteness, class privilege, and heterosexuality, which mostly makes up the dominant normativity.

Another good example from Siobhan Somerville and how not all gendered bodies easily fit into the defined dominant normativity. Somervillle mentioned how black people can be understood from historical context through medical aspect, and racial and cultural expression in connection to perceived abnormality, along with gender and sexuality. She mentions Plessy v. Ferguson legal case, which progressed racial segregation and caused a panic from the supposed sexual danger of white women from black men. The second example mentioned by Somerville is the history of Saartje Baartman during the mid-1800’s. Somerville “historicizes” Baartman in connection to the discussion of gender and sexuality from a medical context, racial and cultural aspects. These two examples illustrate how perceived gender normativity is not only related to gender, but also in connection to race, class, sexuality and nationality.

Transgender studies provide a an important contribution to the ways of how the state surveillance strategy are understood and interpreted. Normalizing gender can be analyzed from medico-legal surveillance. We can think through how state surveillance affect gendered bodies “in terms of medical and psychiatric monitoring of trans people.” (Beauchamp 47) It also relates to how legal gender is defined in relation to medicine and law. Spade argued how medicine and law work together as a way to “correct” people whose body or gender presentation doesn’t fit the expected gender normativity. (Beauchamp 48)

Whether or not a trans person or a gender-nonconforming person did go through medical intervention (such as sex reassignment surgery), it’s more important to think about the visibility strategy, the notion of “going stealth” or to claim status as a “good transgender citizen”. The visibility strategy is discussed by Sandy Stones. (Beauchamp 52) If trans people remain visible and not erase their trans status, then there is a way to overcome how transpeople may be perceived as deviant. A counter discourse, such as the analysis of intersectionality of recognition can be studied and analyzed more if trans people do remain visible, making their trans status not erased from their (sex) history. This way issues such as oppression of trans people can be analyzed from intersectional of recognition based on its connection to differences of race, gender, sex, class, age, and ability.  It’s important to realize that no single form of oppression is the root cause, as explained by Richard M. Juang from his article “Transgendering the Politics of Recognition”. This is why the ALP found it especially important to recognize and unite diverse communities to overcome multiple issues, such as oppression and discrimination.

The notion of legitimacy is the assimilation to be a “good transgender citizen”, in order to escape state surveillance. (Beauchamp) This way, “going stealth” doesn’t mean erasing one’s trans status, but instead means being a “good citizen, a patriotic American — erasing any signs of similarity with the deviant, deceptive terrorist”. (Beauchamp 54) Going stealth and maintaining one’s trans status is placed very far away and differentiated from being labeled “deviant”. This is also a way to shift the importance of protecting trans people from state violence, (and from other types of violence), and to have organizations focus more on protecting the whole nation from terrorists/acts of terrorism.





Discussion Questions Artful Concealment And Strategic Visibility

1. Racial profiling is wrong and is not acceptable when it comes to issues regarding security. How is this type of trans profiling or gender profiling any different from racial profiling?

2. Do you think surveillance of these bodies is justified due to the need for identification and security purposes? Is it acceptable to believe that because someone is different, they may be a suspicious person?

3. Why is concealing one’s gender identity to fit male or female, or going “stealth” so important in our society?

Discussion Questions: Reading 1) Shuttling Between Bodies & Borders/ Reading 2) Silhouettes of Defiance

1) In the reading Shuttling Between & Borders, Shakhsari discusses how the refugees from Iran are forced to have a SRSs in order to prevent homosexuality. The individuals are  able to receive a new birth certificate, passport, etc. My question is, if these individuals are forced to have a SRSs (even though some may not want to), what is the point of having these individuals change their sex if their still face with social harassment, job discrimination and violence ?


2) In the reading Silhouettes of Defiance, Gossett discusses relevance of the Stonewall riots in New York as well as discusses the major event of Compton’s Cafeteria Riot where violence was conducted by the police. Gosset mentions that there are no transgender or racialized bodies before or after Stonewall. Gosset say they are discarded in the process of legitimizing white homonormative history. The Compton’s Riot is a important event that is relevant to transgender to history. Will transgender history ever be relevant and will always be covered by the white homonormative history?


S.V.A (Stonewall Veterans Association)

For my presentation I am working off the reading we did for class which was by Che Gossett called Silhouettes of Defiance.  It basically covers a few of the historical sites of queer and transgender resistance.  Stonewall was an example of this resistance so I thought it was perfect to relate the reading to its main focus and choose the S.V.A.

The S.V.A is an association that’s sole purpose is to help all veterans that were involved in the stonewall riots of 1969.  None the less they help many others that are part of the LBGT community


Even though the Stonewall Rebellion took place in 1969 — not 1869 — the rebellion was not photographed or filmed by the media because they deemed it “unimportant”.  Unless a treasure trove of forgotten images is one day unearthed, there will be endless speculation of what exactly occurred during those five, inconsecutive, steamy nights and early morning hours.  We must preserve the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (“GLBT”) heritage we have before it is significantly and irrevocably lost!

The STONEWALL Veterans’ Association (“S.V.A.”) positively and proudly represents Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender (“GLBT”) history and culture.  The Executive Committee of the S.V.A. consists exclusively of actual participants in the historic 1969 Stonewall Rebellion.  The S.V.A. focuses our multi-dimensional and diverse organization as a viable group of Gay men, Lesbian women, Bi folks and Transgender people.  We strive for the facts and challenge the inaccuracies.

 The S.V.A. delivers the following:

 (1) education

 (2) community-building

 (3) support

(4) communication

 (5) outreach as our primary purposes.

 Therefore, to educate, for example, we provide, on a regular and reliable basis, unquestionably unique, invaluable and factual information to individuals, groups, public officials, organizations and institutions via various means including mailings, phone calls, promotions and guest speakers.  An expanded purpose under our rainbow umbrella of support consisits of homecare assistance, legal advice and financial support to help keep all of the actual Stonewall veterans active, healthy and united.


Ensure that the STONEWALL Vetrerans’ Association continues to be a significant, visible and activist force in the New York City area and far beyond.

Allocate funds to assist Veterans of the Stonewall Rebellion who are indigent and need financial assistance with shelter, medical care, utilities, food, transportation, etc.

Creation of a free or low-cost food/clothing collective for the needy in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (“GLBT”) communities.

Preserve our colorful and varied history by updating our archives consisting of videos and audio tapes and, of course, photographs and images of Stonewall Veterans and other notables of the GLBT communities.

Maintain a consistent, strong, persistent and unified voice in politics and the media.




The S.V.A. is registered with the State of New York Charities Bureau.

“Search” enter:  STONEWALL Veterans’ Association or S.V.A.


SVA relates so perfectly with the course during this time we are talking about history and resistance for queer and transgender. It was interesting for me to find the SVA and see how recent and long they have kept their association together they still have meetings today and are constantly trying to help support any LBGT members of their community.

I think this organization helps illustrate our course discussion very well.  It lets us take a view into something that I don’t know too much about and has really opened my eyes that even though there are so many organizations and events referring to the LQBT community there is still a long way to go with not only their rights but being heard.

For more information:



National Coming Out Day

National Coming Out day


National Coming Out Day is an internationally observed cerebration day for people publically coming out of the closet as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or ally, supporter of LGBT people. In 1988, a psychologist named Robert Eichberg founded NCOD, aiming at raising the public awareness of LGBT community and civil rights movement. October 11th, the date of anniversary of the 1987 national march on Washington for lesbian and gay rights, was selected for NOCD.


Especially in the U.S, associated with Human Rights Campaign, NCOD is greatly cerebrated every year. Activities include information tabling, open-air speeches, and parades.

Since the media push in 1990, all 50 states and other countries have participated in NCOD. Oct 11 2013, last year was its 25th anniversary and here is the link for the memorial video clip.


San Francisco State University (Pride at SF state) :

National Coming Out Day – Wednesday, October 9th

What: Coming Out Community Celebration
Location: Malcolm X Plaza
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Below is the script from Ellen hosted by Ellen DeGrenedes who came out as lesbian in 1997.


“Today is a very special day. It’s National Coming Out Day and I have a very big announcement. Brace yourself. Actually, maybe you should sit down. I’ll wait. Okay, ready? I’m gay!

Whew! I feel a lot better. Finally, things are out in the open. I know what you’re thinking: Does Portia know? She does. I told her this morning.

All kidding aside, National Coming Out Day is an important day for a lot of people. It’s important for the people coming out, but it’s also important to the people they come out to. Maybe they didn’t know any gay people before.
Now it will be a lot easier for them to realize that gay and straight people all want the same thing: Another season of “Law and Order.”

Coming out was the scariest thing I ever did. But after I did it, I felt so much better. Because no matter how scary, nothing feels better than being true to who you are.

So come on out! If you’re gay, tell someone. Even if you’ve told a lot of people and you think everyone already knows, you can find someone who doesn’t (you’d be amazed how many people don’t read Time magazine).

And if someone comes out to you, show them your support and be happy! It probably means they think you’re an awesome person.”


What I felt impressive when I was searching for the information about NCOD is that the day is also encouraging straight allies to stand up and speak out for LGBT people. I never knew that there is a certain word for people want to support protecting civil rights of sexual minorities. Although having a transsexual boy as one of my best friends, all I tried to do was to get to know what it means to be transgender in today’s world. Looking through the guideline of “coming out as Alley” made me realize the importance of proper way of supporting them.


Guide of Coming out as “Alley”:


Facebook page for national coming out day campaign and information:




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Discussion Questions for Richard M. Juang’s “Transgendering the Politics of Recognition”

1. Juang argues that discussions of transgender issues are kept separate from transphobia, heterosexism, racism, ethnocentrism and Eurocentrism, and that this misrepresents how oppressive forces intersect in practice.  While this is very true, do you think that the reason these issues are discussed separately is to target a single issue more directly in order to achieve direct solutions, such as specific laws and legislation?


2. The concept of “social death” was something we discussed in class in regards to Joss and Coleman Moody and their situations in Scotland.  Juang describes Tyra Hunter’s tragedy with the EMT as social death as well.  In what other areas and issues within our society does this term apply?  Do those areas intersect with these issues of racism, sexism, transphobia, etc. as well?


3. There was a very similar overwhelming feeling that crept over me while reading through this article to how I felt when watching the video in class with David Spade.  There are so many intersecting issues…what is the most logical place to start reformation?  




 The two most recent readings in class have been about a more radical form of trans* activism, that includes not only the plight of transgender individuals but anyone who doesn’t directly benefit or fit into the current system as it exists.

For my presentation I chose GATE or Global Actions for Trans* Equality. My reason for choosing GATE is not necessarily because I think it represents the all encompassing abolition movement discussed in Spade and Juang’s articles, but because it is the first tans* activism site to come up. I find this interesting because while GATE does operate on a grassroots level, work for the decriminalization of sex work, as well as feel excluded and unrepresented by the most prominent LGBT organizations their approach appears different. For example one of their goals include lobbying, which is much more trying to appeal to the system as it exists. GATE’s focus is predominately for trans* individuals and does not discuss the “subjection” of all individuals who do not fit the privileged white male identity.


– Believes that the respect and celebration of gender diversity is an integral part of a society that is based on the fulfilment of human rights.

– Aims to protect the Human Rights of trans* people worldwide.

– Works for the empowerment and self-determination of all trans* people and aims to increase the visibility and respect of all trans* people.

– Opposes the continued exotisation of trans* people and the persistent pathologisation of gender variance as a mental disorder.

– Works to combat the violence, discrimination and unequal treatment experienced by trans* people.

– Regional and international lobby on trans* issues

– Help build trans* movements and structures in all parts of the world

– Make critical knowledge and resources available to trans* activists”

GATE seems to have a heavy emphasis on the removal of trans* from the list of mental disorders. This was very interesting to me, because while we have touched on it it has not been a major discussion in the class as far as the necessity to remove trans* identification from the list. GATE argues that:

Trans* pathologization affects different communities in different ways, but its effects are always devastating. The diagnostic classification of trans* people as mentally disordered is, even today, a legal requirement in many countries to grant legal recognition of a gender identity when it varies from the sex assigned at birth. In many countries, the same classification is required in order to control trans* people’s access to gender affirming procedures (such as surgery and hormones) and to ensure, where possible, their coverage. Moreover, those diagnoses that pathologize us have been, and are still used, to promote and justify human rights violations, including forced institutionalization and treatment without consent (such as conversion therapies). The current identification of trans* existence as pathological affects negatively the realization of our right to health in different ways: in order to avoid the harm caused by pathologization many trans * people prefer to avoid accessing all forms of health care; additionally, trans* people’s real health needs are diminished or ignored in the context of a biomedical system obsessed with diagnosing, treating and “curing” our gender identity and expression. This dynamic is particularly damaging, for example, at the intersection of trans* pathologization and the HIV response.”

  GATE’s argument in this regard seems very relevant to many of the concerns discussed in our class thus far, especially the process that many trans* individuals must undergo in order to receive access to gender affirming procedures.In the beginning of Juang’s article he discusses the definition and desire to achieve justice within a liberal democracy, an idea we are somewhat sold as citizens. GATE has a similar desire for trans* individuals to be represented, and seems to operate as an organization to aid small grassroots communities in their goals by giving access to information and finding funding. To quote a press release by GATE:

“All around the world, trans* and intersex people face fierce discrimination, ceaseless violence and incalculable ridicule because of who we are. We also face barriers in pursuing education, obtaining health care and receiving fair treatment by police and other authorities,” said Justus Eisfeld, co-director of GATE. “While a small number of foundations and donors understand that trans* and intersex communities need support as we advocate for justice, most do not. We urge other donors to take up this opportunity to advance human rights and fund our movements.”  

Their reflection on the needs to remove the barriers that deny trans* individuals education, health care, and equal protection from police and authorities are relevant to Juang’s discussion of individuals such as S. and Tyra, both who were denied these privileges associated with citizenship. With further reading I discovered Susan Stryker to be on the international advisory board, who I believe we have all come to accept as a reliable source. At the same time I cannot help but think critically of the multicultural/global approach of activism, as discussed in Juang’s article, how can trans* rights be synonymous worldwide if the definition of trans* isn’t necessarily translatable itself? GATE does have representatives and advisors worldwide, so perhaps these differences are discussed and understood. I find the activism work of Spade to be a more revolutionary plight, as it focuses on all systems of oppression, and all individuals involved, and works at a local level trying to bring justice and alter systems as they exist here in America. At the same time the work of GATE to recognize the exclusion of trans* individuals from existing systems, and the dangers of labeling transgender as a mental disorder are relevant and important steps in the world of trans* activism as we have discussed and identified in the classroom, and unlike hate crime legislation, G.A.T.E focuses on raising the state of living for trans* people instead of being transfixed on their death.

Currently GATE is trying to advocate for the rights of Monica Jones, who was wrongfully accused of sex work and arrested and harassed by police.  ” Action is planned to show we won’t  tolerate systematic profiling and criminalization of transgender people of color and sex workers” To quote Monica:

Ms. Jones states, “I believe I was profiled as a sex worker because I am a transgender woman of color, and an activist. I am a student at ASU, and fear that these wrongful charges will affect my educational path. I am also afraid that if am sentenced, I will be placed in a men’s jail as a transgender woman, which would be very unsafe for me. Prison is an unsafe place for everyone, and especially trans people.

This is very relative to our discussions and readings that reference the systematic violence and exclusion that exists in the current situation. The intersectionality of race and gender is apparent in the situation of Ms.Jones as she is being persecuted for both. Thus I think it is more effective to rally for the complete reconstruction of systems as they currently exist to be inclusive of the issues that challenge every group not included in the idnetity the current systems where intended for.

Link to GATE :