Empowered & Inspired: A Weekend of Trans & Non-Binary Visibility
This past weekend, history was made in Washington, DC as the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and the greater LGBT and allied community recognized the leaders of the transgender and non-binary community and celebrated the progress that those leaders have created in the trans equal rights movement as part of the Inaugural National Trans Visibility March (NTVM).
NGLCC served as the host and sponsor of the NTVM Opening Reception & Torch Awards by opening the NGLCC headquarters on Friday, September 27 to nearly two hundred innovators, business owners, and leaders where a celebration of their hard work in advocating for and boosting the visibility of trans people ensued.
Several leaders were honored for their activism, and inspirational trailblazers were present, including Marissa Miller, the National Trans Visibility March Strategy Director.
“Every single person in here is valued. You are an incredibly valuable part of the economy,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson.
On Saturday, September 28, the Inaugural NTVM kicked off with a rally in Freedom Plaza in which change-makers and leaders spoke on the need for recognition of the trans community. Hundreds of people marched to demand justice and protections against the constant violence directed towards the trans and non-binary community.
Speakers at the rally included Angelica Ross from TransTech Social Enterprises and the hit TV show, Pose; Alphonso David, the new President of the Human Rights Campaign; Bamby Salcedo from the Trans [email protected] Coalition; and NGLCC’s Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson, among others.
“We stand here today because we need to; we stand here today because we have the right to,” said Nelson at the rally.
The NTVM Torch Awards and rally were incredibly empowering experiences for NGLCC and its stakeholders. Ashley Brundage, Co-Chair of the NGLCC Trans+ Inclusion Task Force and Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion with PNC, expressed her excitement for the first annual march.
“I will be marching to bring exposure to trans-owned businesses who are showcasing the need for economic inclusion of the trans community,” Brundage noted.
The NTVM will take place annually, demanding justice for transgender victims of violence and hatred, in addition to days of recognition such as the Transgender Day of Remembrance which will be on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.
“Transgender [people] continue to experience high rates of violence, murder, HIV, homelessness, and unemployment. Only by standing together, as trans pioneers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera did during the Stonewall Riots, will all of the LGBTQA+ communities get access to the same quality of life our cisgender heteronormative counterparts enjoy,” said Cordelia Donovan in the National Trans Visibility March press release.
NGLCC’s 2019 National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC) Best-of-the-Best Visibility Awardee Schuyler Bailar also joined the NGLCC cohort in walking at the NTVM. Bailar is the first transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division I men’s team, and is an advocate for trans rights, an inspirational speaker, and a certified LGBTBE owner. To learn more about Schuyler’s inspirational story, check out his social media (@pinkmantaray) and visit his website.
Schuyler Bailar at the National Trans Visibility March
Sabrina Gill Kent, Co-Chair of the NGLCC Trans+ Inclusion Task Force and NGLCC’s Chief of Staff, expressed her pride in how the work and impact of the Task Force has grown.
“Our goal with the Trans+ Inclusion Task Force is to empower trans business owners from around the world. Trans and non-binary business owners have a large stake in the economy, spanning across industries from tech to construction and well beyond. Often, trans and non-binary business are overlooked. Today, we march to change that, to give an economic voice to a thriving and vibrant part of our economy” Kent said.
Cyrus Golestan, trans advocate and CEO of NGLCC certified LGBTBE Cyrus Golestan Photography, felt empowered and proud to partner with NGLCC to donate his services in providing coverage of the weekend’s historic activities.
“As an NGLCC certified trans-owned business and an advocate for the transgender and non-binary community, the opportunity to partner with NGLCC and the National Trans Visibility March to showcase that the trans community can and should thrive economically is paramount to our community achieving overall equality, and I am proud that my company could support these efforts.”
Golestan also spoke about the importance of photographing trans people in order to showcase visibility of the trans experience.
“Photographs are crucial in spreading trans visibility and to the very writing of queer history. I encourage all LGB and allied community members to support us not only at next year's march but throughout the year by partnering with us, investing in our businesses, and hiring members of the trans and non-binary communities. NGLCC's Trans+ Inclusion Task Force is an excellent access point for trans and non-binary business owners and those seeking to align with us,” Golestan said.
Every day, we see how much LGBT business owners, leaders, and activists make a difference and contribute to our economy. This inaugural event was inspiring, and NGLCC was thrilled to play an integral role in its success.