First openly transgender trial judge elected in California

Judge Victorie KolakowskiAlameda County has become home to the first transgender trial judge in the country as Victoria Kolakowski won the race to fill an empty seat on the county’s Superior Court bench.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting results, Kolakowski held 50.2 percent of the vote against Deputy District Attorney John Creighton, who had 48.7 percent.

The race gave voters a distinct choice between a candidate with unquestionable experience and one who would have brought a new level of diversity to a bench populated by prosecutors and men.

Read the full story on The Oakland Tribune

Equality Ride alumns launch Legalize Trans* campaign

Black shirt with white writing which says 'Legalize Trans*'Asher Koleiboi, co-director of the 2010 Equality Ride, launched the Legalize Trans* campaign in July with the help of 2007 Equality Rider Brian G. Murphy. The Legalize Trans* campaign is an artistic and educational campaign intended to create dialogue and draw attention to the lack of inclusivity within the popular American Apparel "Legalize Gay" campaign. Legalize Trans* serves to emphasize the need for Transgender inclusivity within the dominant national Lesbian and Gay rights movement, and provide public education and resources that focus on navigating legal resources for Trans/gender non-conforming people. 

Since the campaign and product line launched in July, over 100 shirts have been sold. In addition to the original black shirt, the campaign now includes shirts in red and blue and an assortment of buttons, as well as a pay-what-you-want computer desktop wallpaper. Legalize Trans* is nearing 1,000 fans on Facebook and has received press coverage from The Advocate, Bilerico, and other local and international news outlets.

Soulforce is extremely pleased with the work Asher and Brian are undertaking to raise awareness of trans* issues, critique exclusionary LGB politics, and empower trans* people. After production, transaction, and web costs, the proceeds from the sale of all Legalize Trans* items go to fund medical, living, and other expenses for trans* people.  Trans* individuals and trans-focused individuals can signup as affiliates (for free) to sell shirts to earn money for themselves, their organization, or other trans* folks.

You can buy a shirt at www.legalizetrans.com
You can apply to be an affiliate at: www.legalizetrans.com/sell

Soulforce Joins Voices in Support of the Audre Lorde Project’s Trans Day of Action 2010

The Audre Lorde Project’s TransJustice group has announced the 6th annual Trans Day of Action 2010, to take place June 25th, 2010 when trans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirit, gender non-conforming people of color (TGNC) and their allies will take to the streets of New York in pursuit of justice for oppressed people.

Soulforce joins a growing list of local and national organizations endorsing the Trans Day of Action and encourages our members and allies to help (1) raise awareness of the Audre Lorde Project’s pivotal work, (2) attend and support the 2010 Trans Day of Action on Friday, June 25 at 3 p.m. (location to be announced).

Soulforce is committed to nonviolent resistance against religious and political oppression of LGBTQ people and, within that context, often encounters and seeks to understand and address the specific and many layered ways that oppression is experienced by people of color, trans and gender non-conforming people, immigrants, people with disabilities, youth and aged people, and people of low to moderate-income — both within and outside our own LGBTQ and allied communities.

Andi Gentile, Coordinator of the Soulforce Equality Ride for 2010, says:
Spiritual and physical violence grow out of religious bigotry expressed historically and presently not only in transphobia and homophobia, but in racism, ableism, classism, xenophobia, and sexism. It is Soulforce’s commitment to stop spiritual and political violence and we are grateful to the Audre Lorde Project and Trans Day of Action organizers for their excellent work in these areas.

Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director of Soulforce states:
As justice-seekers, our liberation is interwoven with the liberation of all peoples, and therefore, we add our strong endorsement to the 2010 Trans Day of Action and we applaud the courageous action of the Audre Lord Project and its Trans Day of Action organizers.

In their formal Call to Action, the Audre Lorde Project says:
We as TGNC People of Color (POC) recognize the importance of working together alongside other movements to change the world we want to see. We live in a time when oppressed peoples including communities such as people of color, immigrants, youth and elders, people with disabilities, women and TGNC, and poor people are disproportionately underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance, and experience increased violence at the hands of the state…. It is critical that we unite and work together towards dismantling the transphobia, racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and xenophobia that permeates throughout our movements for social justice."

Updates will be available at www.alp.org as well as www.soulforce.org.