So it was back in November that I started asking for nomination for the Trans 100 list, and since then it has grown by leaps and by bounds and a great many people have expressed excitement at the list coming out and many people have expressed concern that the list will be just another popularity contest or some sort of “in crowd” listing.
The list is coming out on March 31st, and until then all I can give is assurance that the list itself will not be a popularity contest. It will be a list that reflects the intent with which it was started: to provide information and recognition of the incredible work that Trans people are doing to help other Trans people, in a way that affects their daily lives, day to day.
I’ll get into that in a moment a bit more, but first I want to point out that the other thing I have been asked about frequently was if the list is international in scope, and if not, why not.
An International version of the List
It all comes down to something I have said before: it is not my place to step in and decide for other nations who the best people doing the hardest work are. I am an unabashed citizen of the US, and while I have some cultural competence with other cultures and countries, it is still an outsider’s perspective and flawed and it can’t possibly be as decent as the ideas of those who are living there locally.
I don’t write about the topics nearly enough, but anyone who spends more than an hour around me will tell you that I am deeply concerned and involved in efforts relating to my black, red, and brown brothers, sisters, and siblings. That means Native, African American, and Latino, for those who are unaware.
There is amazing work going on in South Africa, in Europe, in the middle east, in Malaysia and the Philippines, in various countries in southeast Asia — all over the world, in fact. Some of that work is done under the sentence of death, others must risk decades in prison just to provide a support group.
I pay attention to all of it, but I am not competent to address things. THis is important for me to note, especially since I spend a lot of time pointing out how other people who are incompetent in dealing with things shouldn’t be speaking to them. WOuld be hypocrisy for me to do so when it comes to something that is as important as this kind of list.
When I originally conceived the idea, I was asked about international nominations and at first I said sure, but reflection led me to limit it more and rather than try to do something stupid, turn it over to local people.
Although at this point I need to speak with the other members of the Trans 100 team, I am fairly confident that my initial statement still holds true: if another country wants to start a list and start nominating, we will support them That means we will set the form up for the nominations to be collected, we will tally it all up and send it out to the people in charge in that country, and we will send them the tools we use to check in with folks and make things possible.
And when it is done, we will put it out for them through the website and other resources.
The list, however, is curated. That means that it takes people sitting down and looking over not only the nomination but the returned forms from the nominees. They have to make hard decisions about how each of the nominees meets the requirements of the council, and they have to vote and that has to be recorded, and so forth.
So it takes a team of people to make this happen. That team might be three people, it might be thirty. They likely will live hundreds of miles apart, as the Trans100 team does. But they do need to be trans people themselves.
We want to do an international list, but doing so will require that we have national lists from which to curate the international one. Each publication of the list — which is yearly, on the International Day of Trans(gender) Visibility — will also feature people we are aware of and that are brought to our attention internationally.
Each one will also feature sub sections that deal in the various categories and groups. The work is critical, is key, and we want to be sure that we get the coverage for all the various needs going on.
BEcause each nation has different cultural aspects to inclusion, different items that are focused on, and different cultural values, we want them to create their own listings.
Once we start to have multiple national listings, we will get together with the national groups and begin formalization of the International List, which will also be released on the same day (the TDOV) through the same process.
The big question a lot of people aren’t asking me is “what are the standards?”
I’ve been asked if I’m going to make sure people of color are included (and instead of saying “duh, I’m a person of color” I responded nicely), if I’m going to include people who are famous for being trans but aren’t actually doing anything, if the list is going to include past folks or current ones, and so forth.
So here’s the deets:
First off, they have to be alive. Since this list is for last year, we’ll call that alive for at least half the year. So if they died in March, it will be a bit challenging to get feedback from them regarding their desire for inclusion and what they see as the important work they are doing. They also have to be Trans people — of any stripe, any order, any phylum or nature.
Next up, they have to be making a difference in the day to day lives of trans people in a tangible way. That means that whatever it is they are doing, it has to be significantly related to changing things for the better in practical ways for trans people. They have to be doing it right now. Retired nominees aren’t currently doing the work.
Being out does indeed accomplish this, but this is a Trans 100 list that is very public and will be given and sent to media outlets and other organizations and more. So being out is sorta a base requirement that is presumed to apply to all nominees. This is just as presumed as their being Trans. This is a list of Trans people, not allies, even if they are incredible enough to do positive work without being prompted.
So they have to be doing something that significantly impacts the lives of Trans people directly in one or more of the various areas here:
- Job/School discrimination
- First Responder Abuse reduction
- Stigma and Ostracism reduction
- Life skills
- Substance Abuse & Addiction
- Domestic Violence
- Rape Crises
- STD Prevention (to include HIV)
- Poverty Reduction
- Suicide Reduction among Trans people
- Assault Reduction
- Underground Economy Escape
- Increasing Home Ownership
- Providing access to competent medical services
- Enabling ID changes for other trans people (legal aid, providing funds for name changes & records requests, etc)
- Prison Housing & Sexual Assault
- Healthcare provider education (in group settings, large outreach)
Those are just initial examples, not a comprehensive list. They need to be helping many trans people, not merely a handful, as this is about making a difference in day to day lives.
They can be men or women or neither or both. The kind of trans person isn’t important, just that they are.
It doesn’t really matter if they do it via blogging, or if it is a political thing, or if it is something they do on YouTube. It needs to make a significant difference in the eyes of the curators, who are all people who are doing the above kind of work.
Fair warning: I’ve been nominated. Not for being Dyssonance, but for my work as the ED of This Is HOW. That also means I am not going to be able to take part in the discourse over my inclusion or exclusion.
“Sandy Stone” was nominated (and if you know why I use the quote marks, then you know that I am aware that isn’t strictly her name). The team is going to have to look at what she is doing right now to make Trans lives better. Being well known is not enough to get into the list, nor is being very unknown.
Age is not a factor — nominees include children and seniors. They don’t have to be trench workers — ending ostracism is a very large task that involves being highly visible, but doing so very pointedly on behalf of Trans folk.
They don’t have to be social workers — making a political change in policy or law counts as well, since that does, in fact, make a significant difference if it is followed up with and well publicized.
Lastly, they have to be helping all trans people — not just a few that meet their specific criteria. So even if there was a trans person working at CAMH and it was in the US, they wouldn’t be eligible.
Running an online support group *may* qualify — if the curators agree that it does. IT isn’t entirely my decision, personally, and I have only one vote, one voice, and there are rules to the decision making process.
With the exception of the Co-directors of the Trans 100 (myself and Jen Richards of We Happy Trans), curators are anonymous. They, as individuals, may claim to be such, but we aren’t going to reveal who they are because for one they all have to at least be able to tolerate me to an extent, and my reputation for going after everyone sorta precedes me there, lol.
They span multiple economic, ethnic, racial, religious, educational, and language boundaries. Some are still being approached and if you would like to be considered, feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will give it serious consideration but I may still say no, so don’t take it personally.
I am looking for folks who have a good grasp of what it means to do this kind of work that we are seeking to recognize, and that isn’t as easy as it might sound, given how busy all of us are doing said work.
The reason for the anonymity is pretty much the same as it is for the reason that the Academy awards is anonymous. This is about the community recognizing the community. This is about giving voice to those who are not often heard. This is about recognizng the good work that we are doing, and providing potential resources to those in need.
Since all good things start with a mission statement, here’s one version of ours:
The Trans 100 is a curated listing from open nominations of the top 100 Trans activists and advocates that are working to make a difference in the daily lives of Trans people,in order to provide attention, contacts, and recognition to those who do the on the ground work of reducing stigma, ending ostracizing, and furthering the social and economic development of Trans people throughout society. Nominations start on the Day of Remembrance and end on December 31st, after which a team of Trans people contact those who are nominated with a brief questionnaire and then go over the results before collating them into an alphabetical listing of the selected 100.
The listing will have breakouts that will include (but are not limited to) the following:
Each of the sections mentioned above as areas of focus (the list above of what they are working in)
- African American
- Asian & Pacific Islander
- Native American
So there will be around 25 breakouts that each focus on 10 people.
If that sounds like it might must be more than 100, well, hey — that’s just the main list…
And that’s the Trans 100 stuff, and another post on the topic.