Y’all probably know that we are still fighting serious anti-LGBT legislation across the country. Transphobic laws targeting bathroom access have been especially popular among state legislatures this year. This is a fight that we will eventually win, as we continue to lift up and center the voices of trans folks. But we have to understand that trans rights, as well as the needs of gender-nonconforming people, go far beyond the restroom door. That’s why we need to work for things like making it easier to change names and gender markers on legal documents, fair treatment in health care, employment protections, and shifting society’s views on gender until all people feel safe — regardless of how they identify. Now let’s get to improving the overall climate, shall we?
If there’s something on the horizon in your area that you’d like to see featured in the MTV News Social Justice Forecast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All Month Long:
The Do No Harm Act is a congressional bill proposed to prevent the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) from being used to defend religiously driven discrimination. The RFRA was invoked in North Carolina’s infamously anti-LGBT HB2, as well as in several other local bills aimed at LGBT folks, reproductive rights, single mothers, and more. You can raise up a hashtag hailstorm of support for the act by using #DoNoHarm on social media, alongside the reason you support this much needed fail-safe against discrimination. Also, don’t hesitate to contact your representatives — through tweets, emails, or phone calls — to ask that they support this bill. Be the hailstorm that’s going to leave a few dents in religious bigotry!
We’ve got a storm of support for trans folks in Jacksonville, Florida, over the weekend; black sunshine and feminist hurricanes over New Orleans next week; and we’re looking ahead to rainbows for Asheville, North Carolina, early next month!
Saturday, May 21
Jacksonville, Florida: Raise awareness and arm yourself with knowledge at Transpositive!
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
923 Peninsular Pl.
Jacksonville, FL 32204
The First Coast Sisters, a group dedicated to community service and outlandish drag, in conjunction with the Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network (JASMYN), are hosting Transpositive, an introduction to transgender issues for youth and allies. The program will cover basics like terminology and pronouns that cis folks may not be familiar with, and attendees are encouraged to ask questions in order to build a strong foundation as an ally to trans folks. You can register for the class here. Also be sure to check out JASMYN’s regular programming and events for LGBT youth aged 13 to 23, and follow the First Coast Sisters as they serve the community through activism, philanthropy, and being irreverently fabulous. Get energized with this lightning strike of support for transgender and GNC people!
Wednesday, May 25
New Haven, Connecticut: Witness the stories of immigrant families at Faces of DAPA: An Art Exhibit.
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
169 Grand Ave.
New Haven, CT 06513
Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) is an Obama administration policy that allows immigrant parents whose children are citizens or legal permanent residents to be protected from immediate deportation, and offers options like renewable work visas. At least it would, if it weren’t currently held up in court by a lawsuit from 26 states that oppose the policy. DAPA is meant to help families stay together, which is why JUNTA for Progressive Action is hosting an art exhibit featuring family portraits that express why leaders in the community are taking a stand in support of the policy. Tickets to the event, meant to raise awareness of both DAPA and other immigration reform policies, are $25, which includes drinks and food. All proceeds will support the work for DAPA. Más información en español.
Thursday, May 26
Chicago, Illinois: Reclaim hysteria for reproductive justice at A Wandering Uterus Workshop.
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
4001 N Ravenswood Ave. #204-C
Chicago, IL 60613
Mental distress in women was once blamed on “hysteria” (literally, a wandering uterus) rather than real things like patriarchy or misogyny. But the oppression of women and folks with uteri continues, so Awakenings Foundation is hosting an evening of art and activism as part of the national Wandering Uterus Project.
You’re invited to come and make your own symbolic uterus and become part of an exhibit currently hosting over 50 masterpieces (or you can take your symbolic uterus home as a keepsake). People of all genders are encouraged to participate in this bold statement of support for reproductive justice in our lifetime. Tickets are $20 to help cover cost of materials, but no one will be turned away if they can’t afford to pay. Sign up and speak from your uterus! (Bonus: If you make a feminist hurricane uterus at this event and send us a pic, your Social Justice Weatherman would be overjoyed.)
Saturday, May 28
New Orleans, Louisiana: Join other black women for the Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Roundtable.
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
4035 Washington Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70125
Women With a Vision Inc. is calling on black women in Louisiana to participate in roundtable discussions to implement plans of action around reproductive justice. The roundtable is free to attend, and exclusively for black women. Food will be provided, as well as childcare if you need it. This installment is in New Orleans, but there are plans for more in Shreveport, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge throughout the summer. And if you dig the idea of sisters doing it for themselves and you want to do more, check out the group’s #BlackFeministPorchTalk series. This is one feminist organization that’s keeping black sunshine in Louisiana’s skies!
Friday, June 3
Asheville, North Carolina: Organize for LGBT rights beyond big cities at the North Carolina LGBT Rural Summit!
11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
2 S Pack Sq.
Asheville, NC 28801
LGBT folks live beyond the boundaries of big cities, and it’s just as important to fight the good fight in small towns as in big metropolitan areas. To that end, the Department of Agriculture, Campaign for Southern Equality, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the True Colors Fund are holding a series of summits for LGBT folks living and organizing in rural areas. This is a chance to network, share resources, and strategize with rural organizers from around the country. Registration for the North Carolina summit is free, and you’ve got a couple of weeks to make travel plans! The series will be moving on to Iowa and California in July with specific dates and locations TBA. Help make sure the rainbows are equally bright over farms and skyscrapers alike!
We’re in for the long haul when it comes to social justice. But we have to keep working and pushing, even when the opposition doubles down on repressive politics. From trans issues to reproductive rights to racial equality to economic justice to immigration and more, we are all connected in this fight. That means we can’t forget or ignore each other if we hope to get that freedom we’re all talking about. The weather may be different depending on where you live, but it’s all under the same sky. Whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!