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Transfaith begins work with new Editorial Consultant, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson


  

Transfaith is looking to the future and we believe that transgender employment has to become a central priority in the faith-based LGBT non-profit world. As we grow as an organization, we are dreaming of a day when we have multiple (paid) department heads managing specific program areas. Our movement has spent too much time asking transgender folk to build momentum on shoestring.

The brand "Transfaith" actually emerged in 1999, as the name for a tiny Angelfire website built by volunteer, Chris Paige. But because of the power of the internet, that little website quickly grew to have a national and global reach.  The importance of the internet has only increased since then -- and especially for transgender communities.  The internet is where many of us first find "possibility models" (hat tip to Laverne Cox) and resources that help us to survive and thrive.

Transfaith's Communications Program is once again at the forefront of our development. Thanks to funds from the Arcus Foundation, we are able to make this six-month commitment to building our capacity by clarifying our vision, by building a scaleable workflow to engage volunteers and freelance writers, and by raising funds for what we hope can become a permanent position.  We are delighted that Cyrée Jarelle Johnson (they/he) has accepted the challenge to work with us on developing this initiative.

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a black non-binary essayist and poet from Piscataway, New Jersey. Their writing concerns community as a sight of trauma, animality, myth-making, and afro-pessimism. Cyree Jarelle is a Poetry Editor at The Deaf Poets Society, a journal of D/deaf and Disabled literature and art. They are a proud member of Harriet Tubman Collective. They are currently a candidate for a MFA in Creative Writing - Poetry from Columbia University.

"Not only does Cyrée bring experience in writing, editorial processes, transgender communities, and intersectional justice work," says Executive Director, Chris Paige, "But I am hopeful that Cyrée's combination of analysis and creativity will help us build capacity in this program in ways that really change the landscape of the movement."

By our informal estimate, the faith-based LGBT non-profit industrial complex is only employing about 13 transgender people in medium- to long-term positions (and five of those hires are new this year). The vast majority of these positions are not full-time and don't provide benefits, leaving even our paid transgender leadership in bi-vocational positions, scrambling to cover their needs, or dependent on family for support.

Our hope is that this initiative will position us to be able to offer another a permanent position with benefits through Transfaith.

Our major funders have been very generous through these first years of developing Transfaith as an organization. But as we expand our vision of what is possible, our Board of Directors needs to hear whether the community is going to be willing to get behind a larger vision for growth, for employment, and for collective action.

We are beginning our end of year push to meet our goal of 100 regular Transfaith supporters, each giving just $10 (or more!) per month to sustain our work over the long-term.

Will you help us celebrate this milestone?

Will you make a symbolic contribution now to say YES to transgender employment?

Will you be a Vital Connection in 2016?

  

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