Meet Sasha in this installment of our on-going profiles of Trans Justice Working Group members. She’s one of the folks leading the Trans Justice work at Basic Rights Oregon.
How long have you been part of the Trans Justice program?
I’ve been working with the Transgender Justice program since September 2010.
Why do you do this work?
I do this work because I feel there is lot of work to be done to bring fairness to Oregon. Just to name a few of the issues: health care equality and provider competency, ending employment and housing discrimination, removing the surgery requirement for changing one’s birth certificate, offering proper health care and appropriate housing for transgender inmates, and ending the disproportionately high rates of unemployment, suicide and HIV for trans folks.
What is your background with social justice/community organizing work, and how did you start working with the Trans Justice program?
I’ve done a little work with consumer advocacy. I got started with the TJ program because as I began to transition and dig into the current legal status for trans folks, I realized how bad things really are, and I sought out the people that were already doing this work, and that happened to be the Working Group at Basic Rights Oregon.
Why is ending health care discrimination against trans people so important?
Because it will literally save the lives of people in our community. The recent NCTE/Task Force survey showed that 88% of folks who identify as transgender put off any kind of preventive health care and that 41% have attempted suicide. If those people had proper access to preventive care, counseling, prescription medications, and surgeries, I believe that number would be far lower and would save lives. Not only is transition related health care medically necessary, but in every municipality that has adopted it, the costs have been extremely affordable. Most importantly, it is a matter of basic fairness. Transgender health care exclusions are discriminatory, and it needs to end now.
If you could have any super power what would it be?
The ability to combine things I really like together that wouldn’t normally be so great together, like: nectarines and sour cream, or Rom-Com’s and the World Series, or polar bears and swimming.