Equality Virginia’s TIES Conference on Oct. 14-17 to Focus on Racial Equity

Seventh annual Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit features keynotes and workshops for transgender community and allies.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. Photo courtesy of MAJOR!

To kickoff Equality Virginia’s Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit (TIES) on Oct. 14-17, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy will share perspective on the transgender and racial justice movements while reflecting on her 50-year legacy of advocacy for Black trans women. Known across the country as the “grandmother of the trans revolution,” Miss Major’s talk is one of four keynotes focused on centering the voices of Black transgender people.  

TIES gives transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming individuals and allies an opportunity to gather and build community, while accessing free resources like legal assistance for the name and gender marker change process, and medical and mental health consultations. Educational workshops will take place throughout the online event, focused on advocacy, voting rights, healthcare access and other topics. A full schedule is available on Equality Virginia’s website

To ensure the health and safety of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Equality Virginia is hosting the seventh annual TIES virtually for 2020.

The event’s keynote sessions will take place at noon each day throughout the summit. In addition to Miss Majors’ keynote, facilitator Aurora Higgs will lead a panel on Thursday focused on the work of Black transgender advocates in Virginia. On Friday, Dominique Morgan, executive director of Black and Pink, will share insights into the role of transgender advocacy and artistry to support prison abolition and liberation for transgender and gender nonconforming people. Saturday’s keynote will include Black trans and non-binary youth from Side by Side discussing experiences, advocacy work, and visions for the future.

“We’re looking forward to learning from and engaging with these extraordinary Black transgender community leaders and change makers during this year’s conference,” said Equality Virginia executive director Vee Lamneck. “Black trans lives matter, and it is essential that TIES is a place that celebrates and uplifts their voices. We’re thankful for the keynote speakers for sharing their wisdom and experience with participants this year.”

TIES will include a workshop on understanding the Virginia Values Act, a comprehensive nondiscrimination law that went into effect on July 1. Other sessions will educate attendees about implicit biases, immigration law, barriers impacting trans individuals experiencing homelessness, and other issues relevant to the trans community.

TIES will also feature daily virtual social events and networking opportunities. A range of identity-based affinity spaces and roundtable discussions will be offered.

“TIES helps foster connections with Virginians from all corners of the Commonwealth and we’re proud we can still offer the event through a virtual format this year,” said Equality Virginia program director Thalia Hernandez. “While TIES will look a little different as we shift online, we are excited about the new possibilities for participants to learn, grow, and connect. There’s still time to register for this important conference.” 

Attendees can access virtual legal clinics with trained attorneys to guide people through the name and gender marker change process, in addition to a wellness center with trans-affirming mental health or medical providers answering questions. 

Interpretation in Spanish available for selected workshops, and American Sign Language available upon request.

The conference is free, but registration is required. People can RSVP here.