A future, better Buffalo where Trans folk need not fear the use of public spaces and do not encounter bigotry.
We seek to find area businesses and public institutions which will put a sticker in their window and sign a pledge to respect Trans equality, identifying themselves as a safe space and one which explicitly allows Trans folk to go about their business without fear of harassment over gender.
Logo designed by Andy Perez of the Transgender Oral History Project: http://transoralhistory.com/
For more information about the Chicago-Area Trans-Friendly Bathroom Initiative, see their website, http://friendlybathrooms.wikkii.com/wiki/Main_Page.
We are a group of activists in Buffalo and Western NY who support LGBT civil rights. Many of us have worked with OUTspoken for Equality, a very active organization in WNY which has fought for -and won- many LGBT civil rights. We have each experienced discrimination ourselves or witnessed the pain of others and want to see an end to it.
With pressure from civil rights activists, NY has passed a great deal of legislation supporting the gay and lesbian equality, such as passing marriage equality, but stops short of one key aspect of the greater fight for LGBT equality: trans civil rights, such as including gender expression as a protected status.
Under current law, due to this oversight, anyone who openly identifies as trans, or is exposed as such, could be -and often are- legally fired or otherwise forced out of their positions through discriminatory practices.
We hope to see the Genda Expression Non-Discrimination Act finally passed in 2012, but recognize that, even after that is done, discrimination against LGBT folk, particularly trans folk, will continue. This will change with time and as more people can safely be open about their sexuality and gender expression, but we need to create safe spaces for them first.
One of the most distressing arguements that we encounter is the "bathroom arguement", a rather vulgar form of discrimination where people who are trans are prevented from using the appropriate facilities by those who fear trans folk, sometimes violently. We hope that by identifying supportive public institutions and businesses we can essentially defang this arguement and make it easier for trans folk to find safe spaces.
One of our activists, Brigidann Rauch, witnessed the success Chicago has seen a with their T-Friendly Bathroom Initiative and we believe we can repeat their success here, in Buffalo and WNY, which will prove that this campaign can be scaled to cities of various sizes and can be repeated nationwide.