The DC Office of Human Rights, in a first for any government funded initiative, will in the coming weeks launch a trans anti-discrimination campaign.
Two trans women and men and a self-identified “genderqueer” person will each appear in one of the five separate ads that the agency will place throughout the city in the fall. The spots will highlight respect, shared values and D.C.’s anti-discrimination law, which includes trans-specific protections. The ads will also encourage trans Washingtonians to contact OHR if they experience discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
“LGBT organizations are telling us this is the first government-sponsored campaign in the nation to focus solely on transgender and gender non-conforming people, and the Office of Human Rights is incredibly proud of that,” OHR Director Gustavo Velasquez told the Blade in a statement. “To ensure we take full-advantage of the opportunity, we identified three primary goals for the campaign: increase understanding of transgender and gender non-conforming people, reduce discriminatory incidents in the District and increase the number of community members who report discrimination … .”
Mayor Vincent Grey announced last year that he would be creating a program specifically designed to help DC’s trans population find employment, and the administration has been keen to work with local LGBT groups to find other ways to support the community.
As noted above, the ads will feature gender variant people from a number of DC organizations including Casa Ruby, a Latino LGBT community center.
The importance of this nondiscrimination drive can be put into stark focus when considering that, just a week ago, reports emerged that Casa Ruby had received a threatening phone-call promising physical violence and even death for the LGBT-affirming group.
DC has seen an increased rate of anti-LGBT bias motivated crimes in the past few years, in particular those aimed at the trans community. With this program it is hoped that there will be an improved awareness of anti-trans discrimination and greater scope to report any bias-motivated threats or acts.