Gender Justice Nevada
By Steven Mitchell
Gender Justice Nevada was founded in 2011. They champion the healing, dignity and just for LGBTQ+ people including transgender, non-binary, gender non-conforming, intersex and other gender diverse people. A quick scan of headlines related to LGBTQ+ people confirms the ongoing need for such an organization. I had a delightful meeting with Sy Bernabei where we discussed many issues that exist today and the work that is done by Gender Justice NV.
20 years ago, the LGBT community seemed pretty straight-forward and relatively easy to understand. There were straight people. And there were gay and lesbian people. And, also bisexual and transgender people. Most people understood two of the four but, for the most part, the LGBT community seemed easy to define. Unfortunately, those four letters alone really didn’t define or represent a great number of people in the community.
Today, most people are exposed to transgender stories and people through the media and the news. And, it turns out, that there is a lot of gender diversity within the Queer community. More and more young people are identifying as gender diverse. “Transgender” used to be understood as a very binary construct. People were born male or female. Some people born male were females born in the wrong body and vice versa. Well, it isn’t quite that simple. Just as there is a spectrum of sexuality (i.e., the Kinsey Scale), there is a spectrum of gender. Gender fluid individuals live along a spectrum in which there are no hard and fast identifications. For example, a trans woman may not be hyper-feminine and a trans man may not be hyper-masculine which is what most people expect.
Gay, Lesbian and Bi/Pan are sexual orientations. Transgender is a gender orientation. It is possible to be Trans and Straight, Trans and Gay/Lesbian, Trans and Bi, etc. Transgender individuals can be feminine, masculine or fall somewhere in between. Just as there are many people who fall somewhere between exclusively straight and gay (even if only in thoughts), there are many people who fall somewhere between male and female/masculine and feminine. These are the people who don’t feel like they belong anywhere. Just as Bi people get grief from both straight and gay people (“Pick a side already!”), spectrum-living Trans individuals get grief.
This is only one of many issues that the Gender Justice NV organization helps people work through. The LGBT community has been led primarily by gay, white, cisgender men. This organization can provide leadership and training where it was lacking before. They focus on 3 main pillars:
This includes “101” classes, workshops and education for the medical community (providers, students), community-based organizations and educators.
Teaching people how to tell their life stories/experiences/discriminations, how to work with the media. Knowing how to tell your story, and that you matter, is extremely powerful.
They can assist with completing documents (transitioning, “X” on driver’s licenses vs. Male or Female), therapists, doctors, social support.
You can check out their website at www.genderjusticenv.org and on social media (Facebook, Instagram).
If you need to speak to someone, you can reach out to Sy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow them on Instagram, as well.
They have opportunities to get involved through volunteering and internships. Please reach out and see how you can help in this very important work.
This article was originally published in the Mental Health & PRIDE Celebration Issue of Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine, and can be read in its original format here.