In 2013, shor Salkas, Owen Karcher, Orion Wells, Angie Rehling, and Wayne Gathright met to discuss local transgender programs and organizing efforts. They recognized a lack of formal information about what trans people wanted in terms of resources or support, and designed a survey to assess what the community wanted and needed. They met with stakeholders to craft the questions and disseminate the survey, and developed focus groups to further understand responses.
Four priorities emerged from the Wisconsin Transgender Community Assessment where transgender and gender non-conforming individuals took the survey and participated in focus groups. The priorities for future work were:
- Centering racial justice through intentional collaboration and community building with leaders in transgender communities of color
- Access to transgender competent health care, providers, and resources
- Working to eliminate violence towards transgender and gender non-conforming people
- Non-discrimination in public spheres that impacts transgender people’s access (employment, housing, legal services)
At the May 2nd Wisconsin Transgender Health Coalition Summit, some results from the survey and focus groups were shared and the 90+ attendees discussed the priorities. They then broke into small groups to generate a large list of actions and ideas of how to start addressing the these four priorities. Teams were distilled from this list to focus efforts on the suggested strategies. The teams (group who will actively work on this issue) were:
Coalition Convening Team: maintains the vision and structure of the coalition.
Data Team: Analyze and distribute data from Wisconsin Transgender Community Assessment, envision future data collection strategies and disseminate in accessible format to trans communities
Policy/Advocacy Team: Advocate for policies that support the health of transgender youth and adults, fighting those that aim to discriminate, and work to improve public perception of transgender people across our state.
Since May, 2015, the teams have been meeting and growing to continue the efforts to make Wisconsin a place where all trans people can thrive.
We have presented at the 2016 & 2017 LGBTQ Leadership Summit in Milwaukee, have participated in panels to educate medical providers, helped defeat AB 469 (the anti-trans bathroom bill), supported efforts to introduce nondiscrimination legislation in local jurisdictions, advocated for the end of insurance exclusions for transgender care, and launched a youth survey to assess trans youth experiences across the state.
February 25, 2017 the WI Transgender Health Coalition received the Tammy Baldwin Statewide Impact Award