RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina State Executive Committee for the North Carolina Democratic Party has voted to approve the appointment of Janice Covington Allison as its Transgender Caucus statewide chair. She (and the caucus) becomes the first to hold that position anywhere in the Democratic Party.
Joining Allison are: Angela Bridgman, first vice chair; Wendy Ella May, second vice chair; Flex Jonez, third vice chair; Katherine Harris, secretary; and Kally Henson, treasurer.
Allison shared that this was a major milestone for the transgender community because in the past they had no organized political voice. “Once other states come on board we would be able to apply to the Democratic National Committee to be recognized as our own Democratic National Convention caucus so we can affect positive change for transgender rights by way of lobbying and effective platform building.”
In 1995 it began to be obvious to her that the transgender community was in need of its own voice because it was being left out of legislation that included only the gay and lesbian community. “While attending LGB organization meetings, it began to be hard for me to understand why I was a transgender person who was being looked at as a gay man wearing a dress. This to me was not acceptable, because I was not gay, my sexual orientation was heterosexual even though my gender identity made me a transgender woman.”
Allison thinks the final straw for her was in 2007 when the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ENDA was first introduced to Congress giving the transgender community “false hopes because of Rep. Barney Frank used his political influence for the legislation to only include gays and lesbians, leaving the transgender community with no protections. This is when I realized the transgender community needed its own voice,” she remarked.
“I realized the only way my community could ever have its own voice was through politics. I began to get involved in the Democratic Party, getting to know legislators and the heavyweights so I could lobby my agenda. In 2012 I was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, the first in North Carolina. I joined the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County where no transgender woman had been before where I became a board member. I also became a member of the Democratic Party State Executive Committee and the State Resolutions & Platform Committee.” SheI served two terms on the Delegate Selection Committee for the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Convention and became accepted, she said.
“I figured it was time for the transgender community to make a move to have its own voice at the table. We were tired of table scraps and a rubber chicken. In 2015 I started working to have a standalone Transgender Political Caucus, and with the help of several others even though it took five years of lobbying, we made our move and it paid off.
“The transgender community has been oppressed for decades, and now because of resistance, we are moving forward with a voice,” Allison concluded.