Our Advocacy Programs
Our 1-on-1 advocates offer TwoSpirit, Trans, & Gender Diverse community members peer-based support in accessing resources and services, learning more about legal rights, strategizing ways to navigate service providers, and more.
We have supported community members in accessing and navigating:
- Shelter and housing
- Gender-affirming healthcare and mental healthcare
- Name and gender documentation processes
- And more!
We primarily support people with 1-on-1 advocacy through our Community Security Program. To contact an advocate, please contact Ganesha Gold Buffalo, CSP Program Director:
206.659.1506 (call or text)
Or make an appointment with her via Calendly.
Our community advocates conduct grassroots organizing to make demands for policy change in local, state, and federal government, as well as private organizations, companies, and educational institutions.
We mobilize TwoSpirit, Trans, & Gender Diverse communities to make clear demands, call for the enforcement of so-called “good” laws and policies (such as non-discrimination ordinances), and work to encourage culture change within WA State and beyond that facilitates these processes. We seek community-based solutions to reduce state violence, and to access safe, affirming, and affordable healthcare.
Our Community Advocacy Goals
Reduce State Harm & Violence
We define “state violence” as specific acts of government agencies, law enforcement, or legislature that criminalize 2STGD people or fail to protect our human rights. We aim to collaborate with policymakers and allies to reduce state violence against 2STGD people with the following strategies:
- Reduce policing and imprisonment of our communities by advocating for abolitionist and community-based alternatives.
- Reduce our exclusion from healthcare and state-funded programs.
- Work to make it easier to file and prove claims of discrimination with the Human Rights Commission, City of Seattle Civil Rights Office, and similar agencies and programs offering civil rights protections.
- Work to remove cost and need to see a judge for legal processing, name changes, and gender marker changes.
- Engage in collaborative direct action organizing to end the Prison Industrial Complex.
Increase Sustainable Employment
- Work with job and vocational training programs to increase their capacity to serve 2STGD people. This includes broadening “gender-restricted” job training programs to be open to people who do not fit their rigid gender definitions.
- Educate local business leaders about the alarming rates of poverty and unemployment in trans communities. We encourage and facilitate community dialogue about the severe problems of unemployment, homelessness, and poverty affecting all 2STGD people.
- Collaborate with local organizations to develop/adapt a training handbook for Human Resource Departments on 2STGD people in the workplace. Having a non-discrimination law is not enough! We work to provide education and resources to employers, human resource professionals, universities, colleges, and schools to understand how to implement non-discrimination laws fairly and effectively.
Increase Access to Safe, Affirming, Affordable Care
- Increase access to housing, shelter, and public accommodations.
- Advocate with public and private entities to increase insurance coverage for gender-affirming healthcare—including any care deemed medically necessary by 2STGD people’s health providers.
- Improve legal and medical interactions by providing education, demanding enforcement of non-discrimination laws, and holding providers accountable when they discriminate against 2STGD people.
- Educate doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare agencies on issues facing 2STGD people in medical settings, and how to provide quality care.
- Encourage doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare agencies to support ICATH (Informed Consent for Access to Trans Health).
- Establish a network of providers who are trained and designated as safe providers for 2STGD people.
2024 Legislative Priorities
YES on Keep Our Care Act (HB 1263 / SB 5241)
HB 1263 / SB 5241: Catholic hospital chains have bought up almost 80% of hospitals in WA and prevent both gender-affirming care and abortions in those hospitals. This bill gives the attorney general power over big hospital consolidations and would require these hospitals to provide gender-affirming care, reproductive care, and end-of-life care.
NO on Let’s Go WA ballot initiatives, including “Parent’s Bill of Rights” (I-2081)
This package of initiatives put forth by a conservative political action committee focuses on taking away protections for trans & queer people, eroding state funding for necessary social infrastructure, and increasing police power. One of the initiatives of highest concern to us is I-2081, which aims to create a “Parent’s Bill of Rights” that undermines students’ autonomy and self-determination: allowing parents to opt students out of sex education, and any education/assignments/topics related to CRT or “sexuality.” This initiative also destroys students’ privacy when receiving medical care in school, granting parents access to this information.
NO on Trans Youth Health Ban (HB 1214)
HB 1214: This bill would ban any gender-affirming care for minors (under 18) in WA, and prevent mental health and medical providers from referring minors to care. This would immediately “de-transition” anyone under 18 in WA who is currently receiving this care, and would outlaw any care going forward, making it a class C felony to provide or refer minors to gender-affirming care.
Our team is currently mobilizing community members to contact Rep. Marcus Riccelli and ask him not to hold a hearing in his committee for HB 1214.
NO on Banning Gender-Affirming Care for Minors (HB 2241)
HB 2241: This bill would prohibit puberty-blocking medications, “cross-sex hormones,” and gender transition surgeries for minors.
NO on Birth Names Only in Schools (SB 6026)
SB 6026: This bill would require students in public schools to use only their name assigned at birth, prohibiting the use of nicknames or preferred/alternative names. This bill allows educators to not use the pronouns or alternative names requested by students.
This would affect more than trans students: it would apply to any student who prefers a nickname to their assigned name or a shortened version of their name (e.g. Sam vs. Samuel).
NO on Mandated Reporting Against Trafficking (HB 1937)
HB 1937: This bill names healthcare providers as mandated reporters for suspected human trafficking. The problem with this bill is that sex work is so often inappropriately confused as trafficking, and reporting sex workers for doing sex work endangers us. Additionally, trans people who are not sex workers are also often assumed to be; this bill would lead to an increase in reporting trans people for simply existing and trying to access medical care, which endangers us.
Other bills we are watching
A security volunteer at Trans Pride Seattle 2015 speaks through a microphone. Photo by Alex Garland.
Advocacy Team Testimonials
“I learned about different bills that our LGBTQ representatives must go over, so we all can obtain equal rights in WA State. I also learned that, when talking to the media, not to repeat negative comments, because it gives the opposition power, and if talking to the press, to be quick and to the point.”
– Jasmine, Advocacy Team Member
“I enjoyed seeing where different people were in their experiences. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and levels of advocacy work, seeing where they are right now and the opportunities they were offered was amazing. Whenever you speak in person in front of a legislative committee, it brings feelings to the room. You get to see people’s comfort levels, and build upon them.”
– Nicki, Advocacy Team Member
GJL advocacy team members and Planned Parenthood volunteers meeting with Sen. Dhingra’s staff on Advocacy Day (2023). Photo by Laza Hart.
Oliver Webb, Stella Keating, Elayne Wylie, and Danni Askini in Olympia for Advocacy Day (2023). Photo by Lisa Keating.
“I am honored and blessed to be on this team. It was challenging because it was my first time doing this work. [I enjoyed] hearing about the separate projects that advocacy members were passionate about. [Being on the advocacy team] meant a lot to me, I got to express the [values] of GJL and myself. I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak on the Equity Act at Sen. Pramila Jayapal’s town hall. Meeting her and the letter of appreciation I received from her was something I did not expect. This was a huge opportunity that opened the door for my advocacy career.”
– Duke, Advocacy Team Member
“I enjoyed the flexibility to pursue a project I was passionate about instead of just being assigned something.”
– Adam, Advocacy Team Member
Advocacy team applicatons are currently closed for 2024, but you can still join us for Advocacy Day at the state capitol on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 19th! Register here.