NCAVP Report Cites D.C. Efforts

Report praises local actions, government initiatives as models to combat anti-LGBT violence, discrimination

A report released today by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) holds up several initiatives led by local organizations and District agencies as models that can replicated in the effort to address and the incidence of anti-LGBT violence.

Although the report is national in scope, its authors cite several D.C. stakeholders, such as NCAVP affiliates Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), a program of The DC Center; the DC Trans Coalition (DCTC); and the Rainbow Response Coalition. Particularly, the NCAVP highlighted efforts by D.C. groups to counter police profiling; the D.C. Office of Human Rights ”Trans Respect” campaign; and the city’s Project Empowerment program for providing educational and employment opportunities for at-risk and historically disenfranchised LGBT residents.

All three D.C.-specific initiatives – Project Empowerment, the ”Trans Respect” campaign, and direct engagement of the police by community groups – were used in the report to illustrate how similar efforts may be implemented elsewhere.

”When we launched the Transgender & Gender Identity Respect Campaign, our primary goals were to reduce discrimination here in the District and increase reporting of discrimination to our office,” OHR Director Gustavo Velasquez said in a statement. ”Yet we were mindful that its uniqueness could capture attention beyond the District, and we are both proud and thankful that the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has cited it as a model to reduce discrimination against LGBTQ people and people with HIV/AIDS nationwide. It is our hope that other government agencies and community-based organizations will raise awareness about transgender and gender non-conforming communities in similar ways.”

Jason Terry, speaking for the local NCAVP member organization DCTC, said he appreciated that the report cited the successes of the on-the-ground member organizations. He also stressed, however, that much more is needed to address anti-LGBT violence.

”We have a really excellent program in terms of police training,” he said, referring to volunteer-run LGBT sensitivity training new recruits to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) undergo. He also called the Trans Respect campaign ”exciting” and said that transgender cohorts in the city’s Project Empowerment ”could be bigger, but is a good start,” while praising the District’s implementation of anti-bullying policies through its newly formed Bullying Prevention Program.

”It’s getting to those root causes that are going to bring these numbers down,” Terry said of anti-LGBT attacks in D.C. ”The police misconduct and accountability piece continues to be one of our biggest challenges … but I do appreciate that we are held up as a model.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com