Washington, DC’s Office of Human Rights has debuted five ads as part of what it calls the first government campaign for transgender awareness.
The ads, featuring five members of the District’s trans community articulating what they enjoy, are intended “to increase understanding of transgender and gender non-conforming people, reduce incidents of discrimination and increase reporting,” of bias.
They’ll appear on hundreds of DC bus shelters and be supplemented by a Facebook profile.
The timing of the campaign is no coincidence: The Nation’s Capital has seen an uptick in crimes against the transgender and gender-non-conforming residents. Last year, 23-year-old LaShay Mclean was shot and killed in Lincoln Heights. Less than two weeks later, in the same neighborhood, another transgender victim was held up at gunpoint and fired upon.
In early February of this year a trans woman, Deoni Japarker Jones, was fatally stabbed in the head on East Capital Street NE.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who has thrown his support behind the campaign, says the effort “is an important piece of a larger effort by my administration to ensure all residents have equal access to employment, housing and public services and accommodations regardless of gender identity or expression.”
Mental-health advocate and trans activist Campbell McCollum,who employed McLean as an intern, knows violence against gender-variant individuals is still a fact of life in the District, but says things are improving, adding that “the government’s willingness to launch a campaign for our community speaks to that improvement.”