We Exist Coalition of the Finger Lakes

We Exist Coalition of the Finger Lakes

https://www.facebook.com/pg/WeExistCoalitionFLX

Contact: [email protected]


The mission of the We Exist Coalition of the Finger Lakes is to promote Transgender and Gender-Expansive awareness and equality. Allies are welcome and encouraged. Welcome to the We Exist Coalition of the Finger Lakes! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Shauna Marie O’Toole. I am the Director. I want to take a moment and share why this organization started. As a Transgender Woman, I had no Federal protections of any sort until 2012. That meant I could be fired, evicted, denied medical treatment and countless other denials of Civil Liberties simply because I wear a skirt instead of slacks nowadays. June 23, 2012. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the Transgender Community was protected under Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Law. This ruling was embraced by then President Obama, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Education. Suddenly, we were Free! Free to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” As it says in the Declaration of Independence, governments are instituted to secure these rights. There were challenges ahead to be sure, but we were finally protected. The years ahead hummed and glowed with promise! Then, the 2016 Election Cycle happened. Suddenly, the Department of Justice will no longer support the Transgender Community in any legal action. Protections for Transgender and Gender Expansive students have been stripped away. Across the nation, discriminatory state laws are being passed at record numbers. Even our right to marry the person of our choice could be in jeopardy. This is what happens when protections are by regulation instead of legal code. What one pen can bring to life, another pen can kill. Once again, the fight is on. This time, it is a fight for more than just our Civil Rights. This is a fight to secure our right to live our lives as we see fit. Should we lose this fight, what group will be next? Muslims? People of Color? Native Americans / First Nation? Physically / Mentally Challenged? Who? The battle for our Civil Liberties truly is a battle for everyone. We didn’t ask for this fight, but it’s ours. With it, everyone who does not match the present idea of “Normal” is also in grave jeopardy. To paraphrase a line from Shakespeare’s “Henry V:” The sum of our answer is but this. We would not seek battle such as we are. Yet, as we are, we will not shun it! The We Exist Coalition of the Finger Lakes is one such battlefront. There are other organizations forming by a loose coalition of Transgender Activists around the country. Some are focused solely on having a Civil Rights Rally on June 23rd of this year - the 5th anniversary of being given our Rights. I can tell you this. We Exist Coalition of the Finger Lakes is planning to be around for a long time. I want this organization to become a Regional Resource Center for the Transgender and Gender-Expansive Community. I want to work in concert with other organizations, not in opposition. All of us have skills. Let’s bring them together to better serve our Community. Our People. We Exist Coalition of the Finger Lakes PO Box 327 Geneva, NY 14456

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