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Transgender Lobby Days target Congress
Activists will gather in D.C. in mid April

by Mara Keisling
• Were you frustrated, angry or disappointed at Congress’ decision to set aside the transgender-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)?

• Were you excited by the passage of a transgender-inclusive Hate Crimes bill?

• Do you believe elected officials need to hear directly from transgender people about the bills and issues that impact our lives?

If so, come to Washington, D.C. to join the National Center for Transgender Equality for Lobby Days on Apr. 14 and 15.

Mara Keisling: ‘We need and deserve full protections against the rampant discrimination we face.’
Members of Congress have said that more education is needed in order to convince their colleagues to vote for legislation that includes gender-identity and expression. Let’s make sure they hear from us loudly and clearly this year that only full equality under the law is acceptable. We need and deserve full protections against the rampant discrimination we face. Will you help us send this message?

We must make sure our elected officials understand who we are and why our community needs protections against workplace discrimination and violence. To do this, we need as many diverse members of the transgender community as we can gather, including our families and allies, to come to Washington to speak directly to legislators.

We must tell them why a transgender-inclusive ENDA is absolutely essential. We need to share the real story of trangender lives: our need for basic health care and employment; the right to raise our families and have safe homes; and the chronic harassment and violence that many of us face on a daily basis.

Our representatives need to know that there are transgender people living in their districts, voting and participating in the civic life of our nation. And we need to show our representatives and the other organzations in our nation's capital the strength of our commitment to stand up for transgender civil rights.

In 2007, participation at Lobby Days broke records, but this year we need your presence even more.

Lobby Days 2008 will include:
• A comprehensive training session to give you all of the information you need for an effective visit with your member of Congress. (If this is your first time visiting your representative, we’ll provide assistance in making the appointment and getting you started.)

• A rally on the Capitol steps for transgender rights.

• A briefing on all of the major public policy issues currently impacting the transgender community.

• A reception at the National Press Club (separate ticket).

Here’s what you can do to help:
• Plan to come to Washington, D.C., on Apr. 14 and 15.

• Help organize a delegation from your city, town or state.

• Volunteer to help set appointments and assist those who are lobbying for the first time. (Email ncte@nctequality.org to volunteer.)

• Spread the word about Lobby Days. Let people know why you think this is an important event.

• Donate money or frequent flyer miles to the scholarship fund to help people come to Lobby Days who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

• Write about Lobby Days in your blog, newsletter or community publications.

Participation in Lobby Days, including the training, policy briefing and rally, is free. However, we need you to register in advance so we can plan for your participation and set up your meeting with your member of Congress. After registering, you will receive a comprehensive packet of information about how to prepare for your visit. Register online at www.nctequality.org.

There will be a ticket charge for the reception to defray costs and to raise funds for our ongoing efforts to educate Congress about the need for transgender-inclusive legislation. Scholarships are available. For more information, email ncte@nctequality.org.

—Mara Keisling is the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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