The First Lady of NYC announced UnityWorks, the most comprehensive workforce development program in the nation for runaway and homeless LGBTQI+ youth.
This is the result of a lot of work from a lot of people. It comes from community members, organizers, the demands of the TGNCNB (trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary) Solutions Coalition, LGBTQI+ youth advocates, and allies in government, notably the Center for Youth Employment and the Unity Project.
Bowen Public Affairs Consulting was honored to play a role in all of this, working with community members and workforce programming experts, to shape this program.
Years of community organizing, struggles for survival, and brave statements from the TGNCNB community have continually surfaced a major demand: we need jobs. UnityWorks is a major step toward providing our community with careers and economic well-being. We will continue to fight to make sure resources like this program are extended for TGNCNB people of all ages, but we’re excited for this program’s promise as a model for putting community members into well-paying careers.
For Bowen, principal at Bowen Public Affairs Consulting, the LGBTQ movement’s tendency to shy away from addressing economic injustice issues shows “the big banner things that we focus on, they’re a little out of whack.”
The steps that need to be taken to address LGBTQ economic inequality include using government funding to create LGBTQ-oriented social programs, pushing philanthropists in the queer movement to support on-the-ground service providers and uplifting political advocacy that distributes resources to the community, said Bowen, a queer trans woman.
tl;dr: As of today, we officially got *multi-year* funding for staff in NYC’s public hospitals to help trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary (TGNCNB) people find affirming care.
With the amazing work of City Council members, the TGNCNB Solutions Coalition (which Bowen Public Affairs works with) successfully advocated for $390,000 a year baselined (multi-year funding) for TGNCNB health care navigators in the NYC FY20 budget!
The big annual City Council budget document (the Schedule C) came out today, and solidified: $390,000 to support TGNCNB people in the pursuit of the best possible health care within public hospitals (Schedule C says $390,000 for “transgender healthcare training,” but that funds the aforementioned navigators).
It is vital to give applause to the community organizers and leaders who made this work get to this point. Bowen Public Affairs Consulting owes all the work it has done to the people mentioned below.
Anything the Coalition achieves, love goes to this crew for building community, holding community forums where community members said they wanted these navigators in the first place, for getting money and resources to make this work happen, thinking it through, strategizing, making sure the evolving policy fits the community’s needs, testifying at hearings and getting other folks to show up to hearings, and doing all of this while organizing rallies, and healing community.
On the City government side, thank you to Council Members Carlina Rivera and Mark Levine for holding the initial hearings that led to this funding, for helping us craft the vision for this funding, and for working with your colleagues to make it real.
Thanks to many other Council Members for pushing this hard, including Diana Ayala, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, Finance Chair Danny Dromm, Stephen Levin, Francisco Moya, and Helen Rosenthal.
Also, thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson for shepherding through two budgets now with monumental spending for the TGNCNB community. Thank you to the LGBT and Women’s Caucuses for supporting this!
Also, many many staff made this possible. You are stars.
Our movement has an obligation to pursue economic justice, and if we don’t make a full-court press for government dollars, we’re leaving money on the table. Thanks to everybody who sees that, and is making that reality happen.
tl;dr it’s great to see the NYC government create resources for LGBTQ people, and especially come through for the trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary (TGNCNB) community.
I was really excited and honored this week to be invited to the unveiling of a new Pride Center (primary care for LGBTQ+ folks) at the H+H/Gouverneur facility! (This is part of NYC’s public hospital/clinic system, for those of you who don’t follow public hospitals!)
I’ve been working with a coalition of TGNCNB-led or serving organizations for nearly two years now (NYC Anti-Violence Project, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Translatinx Network, GMHC, Make the Road New York, not to mention the long-term vision and guidance of LaLa B Zannell and Cecilia Gentili) to make sure City government agencies respond to the needs of the TGNCNB community. We call ourselves the TGNCNB Solutions Coalition. (Note: I was late to this party; the organizations and people I mentioned had been working on this for years before I showed up. I’m the weird wonky lobbyist person who tries to get government to follow ideas that came out of the community.)
We advocated with a lot of folks in government to try and get people in the public hospital system to direct LGBTQ people broadly to affirming care, with a commitment to ensuring there’s excellent care for TGNCNB people. H+H responded by creating new staff, the LGBTQ Community Outreach Workers, and it was a delight to meet those workers, and thank folks in government who helped make this happen.
I was honored to be able to make a speech where I noted the responsibility of governments to provide LGBTQ people, and TGNCNB people (who are so frequently mistreated in health care settings, among other institutions), with RESOURCES, not just rights. It’s a delight to see this position bare fruit in NYC.
If you want to find affirming care in NYC, don’t hesitate to contact Tashan Lovemore (lovemoret [at] nychhc.org, pronouns he/him/his) and Wynn Heyward [heywardw1 [at] nychhc.org, pronouns they/they/theirs) for support!
And thanks to folks in government, Dr. Mitchell Katz at H+H, Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio, and City Council Members, including Carlina Rivera and Mark Levine, among others, for advocating hard to fund LGBTQ Community Outreach Workers and provide other resources to support the community.
Along with our friends at the Anti-Violence Project, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Audre Lorde Project, Make the Road New York, the New York City LGBT Center, GMHC, and TransLatina Network, Bowen Public Affairs Consulting helped in the writing and release of a policy brief highlighting the needs of the transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) community in New York City. Solutions Out of Struggle and Survival was released on November 20, 2017, and we’re working on making its recommendations reality through government relations work and political education in the TGNC community. New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said publicly that he would work with the coalition that put the brief together. This is an exciting release, and exciting work, and we’re honored to be a part of it.