#MakeRoom: HBGC’s New Leaders Institute Host QTPOC Art Exhibit in Support of Trans Justice

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BOSTON—On October 10th from 4-7 p.m., the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) will host #MakeRoom-A QTPOC Art Initiative For Trans Justice In Massachusetts to support Massachusetts House Bill 1577, an act relative to gender identity and non-discrimination. The event will engage elected officials, local leaders, and community members, particularly LGBTQ communities of color, on the importance of the legislation by showcasing the experiences of transgender people through a non-traditional platform—art; taking advocacy from the statehouse to the people. The event will take place at The Urbano Project, located at 29 Germania St in Jamaica Plain. The location is accessible via the MBTA orange line Stony Brook stop.

#MakeRoom is an event organized by members of HBGC’s New Leaders Institute (NLI), a leadership development program for LGBTQ youth of color in the Boston area. The event is also in partnership with Freedom Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC). New Leaders Institute cohort member and event organizer, Jeremy Surla Vargas summed up the event by stating, “By having this art show it is a medley of artistic expression and political advocacy. I think it’s important that we’re tackling this issue, as transgender people are often overlooked in mainstream society, and especially in the LGBTQ Community.”  [pullquote]#MakeRoom, could not come at a more critical time. In 2015 alone, nineteen transgender women have been murdered—mostly transgender women of color. … In June, local activists halted the Boston Pride Parade for 11 minutes to raise awareness to the murder of Transgender women of color and the exclusion of Transgender individuals during Pride week.[/pullquote]

The majority of the art to be displayed at #MakeRoom will be created and curated by local transgender and gender non-conforming artists, making it a unique exhibit that amplifies the voices of those often overlooked in the mainstream LGBTQ community. Representatives from HBGC and the event’s partnering organizations will also discuss the significance of Massachusetts H.B. 1577 and educate attendees on ways to get involved in the campaign to pass the legislation. #MakeRoom will also feature food, music, and resources for being a better ally and advocate for transgender communities.

#MakeRoom, could not come at a more critical time. In 2015 alone, nineteen transgender women have been murdered—mostly transgender women of color. A movement has swelled around the injustices faced by transgender people. In June, local activists halted the Boston Pride Parade for 11 minutes to raise awareness to the murder of Transgender women of color and the exclusion of Transgender individuals during Pride week. Recently, #TransLiberationTuesday (held on August 25) engaged thousands of people who rallied nationwide to denounce the wide-spread systemic violence that transgender people face. NLI member Jeremy Surla Vargas touched on the timeliness of this event, stating “when thinking of ideas for advocacy, the anti-discrimination bill affecting transgender and gender non-conforming folks immediately came to mind.” #MakeRoom aims to keep the momentum for the movement for Trans* liberation going, especially in Massachusetts where it is currently completely legal to discriminate against transgender people in public accommodations. Public accommodations include spaces such as movie theaters, hotels, restaurants and even public parks. Massachusetts H.B. 1577 would make discrimination based on gender in public accommodations illegal, providing legal protections to transgender people in the Commonwealth.

#MakeRoom-A QTPOC Art Initiative For Trans Justice In Massachusetts is a FREE event and open to anyone who interested in attending. To learn more, including how to submit artwork to be featured at the event, visit hbgc-boston.org. Individuals are also encouraged to spread the word on social media using the hashtag #MakeRoomHBGC and by “joining” the conference Facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/395039177355769/.

The Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) is one of few non-profit organizations in Boston dedicated to the unique needs of the Black, Hispanic and Latin@ LGBTQ community. Founded in 2009, we work to inspire and empower Latin@, Hispanic and Black LGBTQ individuals to improve their livelihood through activism, education, community outreach, and counseling. Learn more at hbgc-boston.org.

[From a News Release]

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