I feel so lucky every day to work for transgender rights. I stumbled upon the field when I was in college in the 1990s and found that I could make a real difference in trans people's lives. At the University of Washington I helped add trans people to the mission of our LGBT organizations, and folks came out of the woodwork to join our group and get much-needed support. One student discovered himself through the group and transitioned in college, having never known that transgender people existed while he was growing up in Montana. Through this process I learned that I could save lives through being a strong ally for trans people, even though I’m not trans-identified myself, and I was immediately hooked.

Over the last decade I have worked primarily at The Gay and Lesbian Task Force on trans policy at the state and local levels. In these ten years we’ve gone from only 5% of the U.S. population being protected by a transgender-inclusive non-discrimination law to 45%! We’ve also helped a sea change occur with regard to driver's license policies, with only a very few states still requiring surgery for a gender marker change. A growing number of states are also modernizing their birth certificate laws and policies to move away from surgery requirements, and we have seen tremendous progress in trans access to homeless shelters and other services.

But despite these victories there is so much more to do. We need 100% of the country covered by a clear non-discrimination law, and there are so many state laws and polices around identity documents that need to be fixed so trans people can simply live their lives without the government forcing them to be identified as someone whom they are not. There is also much to do in state and local policy on police, jails, homeless shelters, and other institutions. I know we will ultimately be successful in a full cultural change, but we simply cannot move forward without your support. We need greater capacity and more resources to do this life-saving work. I am excited to be a part of NCTE at this critical time to make sure we use Our Moment of opportunity to its fullest. We need immediate dramatic change and we are now uniquely positioned to make that happen with just a little more support.

The trans movement is truly the civil rights movement of our time, but we cannot do it alone. We need the support of allies to push this movement over the tipping point and capitalize on all the momentum I have seen building in the past decade. Join me, and together we can truly make this Our Moment.

Lisa Mottet
Deputy Executive Director