The TransAdvocate aims to improve the lives of transgender people through investigative news and nuanced commentary from a boots-on-the-ground trans advocate perspective. What sets the TransAdvocate apart is its commitment to publishing contextual pieces based on original investigative effort and research. In other words, we don’t simply repeat the news from other media sources, we report the news as discovered through actual investigative work and fact-checking. Specifically, the TransAdvocate focuses on watchdogging media tropes and misinformation that gains social currency, negatively affecting the material condition of trans and intersex people. We’re willing to do what it takes to expose hate — especially when hate is being peddled as reason, faith, or journalism.
In 2019, the United States Library of Congress selected the TransAdvocate for inclusion in its historic collection of Internet materials related to the LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive.
The TransAdvocate exists to give a voice to trans advocates in a new media environment. TransAdvocate.com was created in 2002 by Marti Abernathey. Cristan Williams became the TransAdvocate’s managing editor in 2012.
The editors of the TransAdvocate are:
The TransAdvocate: An Independent Nonprofit
The TransAdvocate editorial board controls the content presented on the Transadvocate. TransAdvocate authors are members of the TransAdvocate Writers Collective. Guest posts represent non-Collective work.
- The TransAdvocate is a project of the Transgender Foundation of America (TFA), a 501c3 nonprofit (EIN: 76-0670632). Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The TransAdvocate compensates its writers through reader donations and fundraising activities.
- The TransAdvocate is a member of the Houston Transgender Unity Committee (HTUC). TransAdvocate archival materials are maintained by the Houston Transgender Archive.
- The TransAdvocate facilitates The Conversations Project (TCP), a historical project that seeks to bring attention to a decades-old intersectional trans, intersex, and genderqueer inclusive radical feminist tradition. TCP publishes an annual journal and is serialized at the Feminist Times.
- The TransAdvocate facilitates TransAdvocate Brazil (TAB), a Brazil-focused Portuguese-languaged collective of trans and intersex activists reporting on issues affecting Brazilian trans and intersex people.
If you are interested in becoming a contributor to the TransAdvocate, please refer to our submissions page. If you have questions and would like to email, call, or write the TransAdvocate, please visit our contact page.
Organized in 1998, TFA is a Houston-based grassroots nonprofit organization that obtained its 501c3 nonprofit status in 2001. TFA was brought into existence through the hard work and support of its parent organization, the Gulf Coast Transgender Community (GCTC) which traces its roots back to 1965. In addition to TFA, GCTC was instrumental in organizing pioneering organizations like the Texas Association for Transsexual Support (TATS) and historic events such as the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy and the Houston Transgender Unity Banquet. GCTC’s spirit lives on in the TFA mission of improving the quality of life for transgender people.
TFA maintains the Transgender Archive, provides annual scholarships to trans-supportive academics, represents trans health concerns with health departments across the nation, trains organizations, companies, and schools throughout the nation and pioneered trans homeless, social, and medical services.
A Historical Perspective on Trans Advocacy
On one front we were fighting TERFs as they worked with US Administrations to try to revoke our access to health care and to legislate trans bodies “out of existence.” On another front, we were fighting powerful gay men who felt that trans folk were dragging the gay rights movement down so that the founder of HRC, Steven Endean, encouraged the movement to “hide the drag queens.” On other fronts, we were facing systemic institutionalized discrimination at every level of society. On yet other fronts, we were fighting to just stay alive. At every level and in every way possible, both our foes and those who were supposed to be our allies made existence harder. The system was rigged to ensure that it produced a disenfranchised, demoralized, and dehumanized trans population with some of the highest rates of murder, rape, assault, unemployment, HIV, homelessness, psychological pressure and, of course, suicide. This is what the trans advocate movement has spent the last 50 years pushing against and now, popular media told us at the end of the Obama administration, the trans community was at a tipping point.
At that time, TERFs are confronted as bigots at every turn, trans social and medical services began to pop up across the nation even as the last “respectable” reparative therapy clinic was shut down in Canada. Trans people were protected under Title VII, Title IX, HUD non-discrimination rules, and we are able to acquire correct federal identification (thank you Obama!), regardless of what state legislatures have to say. Even as bigots scramble to assert that after 60+ years of trans people using hygiene facilities that correspond to their gender identity within the United States that:
- The existence of trans people suddenly poses safety risks
- After 20+ years of case law behind the legal concept of “gender identity”, we somehow no longer understand what it means
- Trans-inclusive nondiscrimination policies are bad because these policies aren’t procedure
But then, the Trump administration rose to power.
In a repeat of history, with the rise of white supremacist power, non-cisnormative people, protections, institutions, groups, leadership, politics, theory, and, most importantly, existence, are routinely targeted at every level of a Trump-centered society.
As the US trans community was dealing with the rise of fascism, both the UK and Brazilian divisions of the TransAdvocate witnessed the rise of anti-trans fascism. With the rise of ultra-right power in both the UK and Brasil, not only has popular media become swamped with anti-trans propaganda, our writers have lived in fear of official and unofficial retribution.
The importance of original investigative reporting and fact-checking is needed more now than ever.