November 22nd, 2023 was my very last day as an employee of Gender Justice Los Angeles - a TGNC led organization that has been around for over 20+ years leading arts and culture, leadership development, and policy engagement at various sectors. Gender Justice LA is a grassroots organization that is building the power of the transgender and gender non-conforming community here in Los Angeles. Through my time there these past two and a half years (aka 30 months!) I'm happy to have played a role to make concrete changes in the lives of all TGNC people!
In today's post I will provide an overview of what is Gender Justice LA, and a special program I loved. Thank you for reading my story & sharing pieces of magic today.
Rooted in the unique social justice landscape of Los Angeles, GJLA envisions a safe and just society for all transgender and gender non-conforming people. Recognizing the mutual dependence of racial, economic, and gender-based liberation, we are committed to working from an intersectional lens, and to centering the needs of low income, transgender people of color. These needs include access to quality, respectful, and affordable health care; freedom from bigotry, harassment, and violence; opportunities for education, employment, and leadership; safe spaces for enhancing spiritual, physical, and social wellness; and the right to self-determination.
Gender Justice LA organizes, holds space, provides resources, and collaborates with others so that our communities can: resist oppression, develop community responses to violence, heal from present & historical trauma, and come together in ways that feel brave & affirming. Below you'll see the 2022 End of Year Report, a huge milestone done by all of GJLA's staff! The baddies alongside me made magic, and I needed to highlight the magic that we were able to accomplish together.
The greatest opportunity that I was able to join in my time at GJLA has been the Solis Policy Institute Fellowship powered by Women's Foundation CA. Read below a brief overview of the program, and in future magic you'll hear about my time with AB957: The TGI Youth Empowerment Act.
2022 End of Year Report:
2022 was a HUGE milestone of a year for Gender Justice LA! We celebrated 20 years of existence as one of the first Trans led organizations in Los Angeles. During a time of increased violence towards TGNC people, and during a time where anti-Trans legislation and policy was emboldened, we know how necessary and crucial it is for GJLA to exist in order to organize, advocate, develop community based strategies and build our collective power!
In 2022 alone we served over 24,000 community members through our in-person and virtual outreach, committees, mutual aid efforts, policy campaigns, and participatory research initiatives.
We were involved in multiple campaigns from food justice, to health care, to migrant rights, to mental health access. We did this through our coalition work with Justice LA, #Food4All, #Out4mentalhealth, #outagainstbigtobacco, and through our in-house research projects like Trans Masculine Health Justice LA.
Gender Justice understands that our work is intersectional, it must be led by TGNC BIPOC communities, and in collaboration/partnership across movements. In 2022 we partnered with 30+ community organizations, collectives, businesses, and non-profit organizations in forms of workshops, tabling opportunities, mutual aid, and a range of other projects that center TGNC community members.
We hosted, led, and were part of 60+ community events, panels, monthly membership meetings, and conferences.
As part of our rapid response and mutual aid efforts we gave out 4,000 COVID-19 Rapid tests, 500 hand sanitizers, 700 Kn95 masks, 2,000 QR Codes highlighting our TGI Community Resource Guide, 300 face shields, and 500 gloves. We also were part of the inaugural MPOX Work Group in California focusing on LGBTQ community resources, messaging, and urgent dispersing of critical information for vaccination and treatment.
2022 was about sustainability and longevity!
Our team expanded in 2022, with a total of 8 Staff and Advisory Board members iIn partnership with UCLA Labor Center and Dream Resource Center we hosted two Dream Fellows this past summer to support our work with migrant and TGNC health and food advocacy.
Admin Coordinator, Camila Camaleón, is representing GJLA as a2023 SPI Fellow at the Women Foundation as part of the Trauma Services Prevention And Reproductive Health Justice Team!
We welcomed new Outreach Coordinator, Gia Dacayanan into the team!
Our Advisory board also began its new cycle and we are pleased to welcome to the board: Bria Brown-King, Gabriel Vidal, Zy’aire Nassirah, and Michaé De La Cuadra. A big thank you to all our past Advisory Board members for ushering us into this next phase of growth!
2023 WE ARE DREAMING BIG AND BUILDING TRANS POWER!
We are starting off the year by announcing that GJLA is opening our very own Gender Justice LA Center in Lincoln Heights!
We are expanding our team, and searching high and low for our new Campaign Coordinator! To apply click HERE!
We are building out our intern/fellowship program.
Stay tuned for TGNC Advocacy and Empowerment trainings coming back this Spring
We are leading efforts with coalitions, such as the California TGI Policy Alliance (CTPA), to continue to advocate, and organize for equity and community centered legislation for TGNC communities by helping to secure 13 million from state allocated funding for TGI serving organizations in California.
Mutual Aid efforts will continue as we continue to outreach, ensuring that TGNC people have access to PPE ( COVID-19 rapid tests, hand sanitizers, masks, gloves) at no cost, and that they have the latest information on COVID-19 and MPOX.
Solis Policy Institute:
The Dr. Beatriz María Solís Policy Institute (SPI) is an experiential policy advocacy training program advancing racial, economic, and gender justice throughout the state of California. Over the course of a year-long fellowship, SPI delivers tools, builds networks, and develops leadership across a dynamic cohort of leaders who are ready to shape California’s policies. This non-partisan program is run in two versions; SPI-State and SPI-Local.
Policy wins are shaped and influenced by the steadfast work of our partners and allies across our network. To date, SPI has trained more than 600 advocates and organizers who have passed over 50 new laws or local policies improving the health, safety, and economic wellbeing of their communities statewide. SPI Fellows build community power and shift the status quo.
Being a part of the State Fellowship in the team which explored the intersections of Reproductive Justice and Trauma Services Prevention was a magical, challenging, and rewarding journey. Working in a more policy-focused role filled my heart, and this fellowship is going to be something I will always look back on.
(Camila Camaleoón sits on the Tower Bridge in Sacramento California. She takes advantage of a break from the SPI program and soaks in the sun.)
I first joined Gender Justice LA back in 2019, and with that this piece today is only one lens of the work that has been going on since then. In future blog posts you'll hear about when I was accepted into the Seeds of Liberation leadership program, my growth as a leader on the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Center Board of Directors, some lessons & blessings from my time at the Out4MentalHealth TGI Task Force and more! Subscribe today, you won't want to miss out.