Transforming systems for trans lives: taking action for trans equity

Trans rights in this country are under attack. As of April, the 2023 legislative session has seen nearly 500 anti-trans bills introduced across 49 states. The rise in legislative and judicial actions designed to harm trans people has coincided with a rise in hateful rhetoric across political, media and social media platforms, as well as acts of physical violence. Further, the intersection of racism and anti-trans sentiments/systems is deadly, so people who identify as both BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and trans are at a particularly high risk. Evidence—including lived experience—points to trans people reaching stage 8 of genocide within the U.S. (1, 2, 3). The lives, health, and wellbeing of trans people are in danger and we, as an organization, cannot remain quiet.

HRiA condemns these attacks on trans people.

Trans rights are human rights. Trans people deserve happiness, safety, autonomy, health, and life.

We are committed to supporting and protecting the health and safety of our trans colleagues and loved ones. Our goal is for HRiA to be a safe and affirming workplace – whether in-person or virtual, for all individuals to be able to show up as their full selves. A place where all belong, are valued, and can gather in community and in all HRiA-held spaces. Externally, we aim to transform the places and spaces where our trans colleagues and loved ones are unsafe simply for being themselves. Now more than ever, we must show up for each other.


Our work to dismantle the transphobia behind the systems and current legislative efforts begins internally. HRiA is investing resources and time in a thoughtful approach to create a trans-inclusive environment. Our response is being led by trans staff and supported by organizational leadership. This strategy includes:

  • Individual: Affording time during the workday and/or additional time off for staff members to engage in self-care, connect with others, reflect, and recover during crisis times.
  • Interpersonal: Creating accessible spaces, such as affinity groups, for trans staff members to connect with others who share trans identities without having to out themselves to cis staff in the organization.
  • Organizational: Committing organizational resources to dismantle institutional transphobia through policy changes and staff education and skills development.
  • Structural: Committing organizational resources to support trans-led grassroots organizations and our staff’s capacity to advocate for trans social, political, and economic rights in their local communities.

As we uncover the ways in which transphobia operates at HRiA, we must be responsive to additional challenges, such as:

  • How do we intentionally and regularly check-in with trans staff members who are disproportionately affected by these injustices without creating more burden and trauma?
  • How do we explore and interrogate our individual and collective understanding of gender, especially our leaders’ roles in creating a trans-inclusive environment?
  • How do we ensure that appropriate financial and human resources are allocated to sustain our anti-transphobia efforts during uncertain economic times?


As a public health organization and an employer, we recognize the urgency of this work. We have a responsibility to support trans staff internally and to create safe and healthy communities for trans people.  We call on other organizations to join us in these actions:

As we continue our journey, we invite you to join us in supporting and protecting the health and safety of our trans community. This will look different across organizations and collaborations. The most essential components to this work require that it be (1) trans-led, (2) trans-centered, (3) organizationally supported, and (4) addressed with urgency and care.

Committed to action,

Steven Ridini

President & CEO

“I genuinely hope that… anti-trans folks someday experience the joy and liberation of being comfortable in your own skin enough to know that the liberation of others is no threat to you.” – Charlotte Clymer, Activist