This gathering was special. But then again, so were all of them. From Thursday to Sunday, July 18-20, the Trans Leadership Table ‘19 gathered for the last time to learn, grow and network. Studying legislative strategy, updating headshots, and even receiving media training from a former TV reporter -- this is just a short list of what this group of 15 Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) leaders experienced together over the course of a year and multiple gatherings. What members of the Trans Leadership Table 2019 accomplished that time has created a powerful foundation for work to come.

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When we first put out the call for an invite-only Table of Trans and GNC leaders last fall, we did so with a few assumptions. We knew that the Table must be made up of people who wanted to build up the community’s ability to fight back when our constitutional rights were violated in the state of Missouri. And, we knew that they must be committed to making Missouri an inclusive place to live, work, and be. As a result of everyone’s investment in this process -- no matter what -- we hoped that individuals who attended TLT Summits would form connections with other leaders across the state and networks of support that can be activated in moments of crisis and joy.  

From the first ever ACLU-MO Transgender Education and Advocacy Program (TEAP) public campaign - the 10 Days of Trans Demands in October 2018, folks joined forces to launch the Trans Ally Toolkit by featuring performers, training safety leads and guiding block walkers. Residents all over the state got to hear what it meant to be Trans or GNC and proud from people who would go on to join the Leadership Table.

Fast forward to June 2019 when the group was able to culminate its connectivity in shared resources (donations towards Brooklyn Lindsey’s family and her local trans sisters), this Table has affirmed Trans lives beyond what many had thought possible. From helping launch the Trans Dignity at Work campaign, to helping the ACLU of Missouri have a deeper understanding of what Trans folks in the state are working towards and demanding beyond our legislative focus on MONA, this group has done incredible work.

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And now, in the fall of 2019, the time has come for us to expand the Table’s reach. This year, instead of an invite-only process, we’re opening up an application to ensure that more folks are considered and have the chance to build up their leadership. The commitment is a ten month chance to show up, be pushed, and connect with other leaders from around the state. There will be 10 people selected from around the state.

Learn more about the opportunity here and be sure to share the application with up and coming Trans and GNC leaders who you think are ready to level up their leadership with us.

Jay Marie Hill will be traveling around the state and in the following cities to spread the word: Aug 23-25 in Springfield, Aug 26 in Columbia at the 7:00pm TransGender Blender at the Center Project, and Aug 30-31 Kansas City with an appearance at KC Zine Con 5.

In a world that makes it tough to carry the weight of our whole selves, many of us unapologetically leaned-in over the last several months to discover what was possible if we came together — with intention — in spite of it all. Whether people made it to one Trans Leadership Table or many this pilot year, there is no doubt we have — together — laid more groundwork to help shape this state for the better.