Change Agents 9/2/21: Conversations with Human Rights Advocates

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Conversations with Human Rights Advocates: Examining issues affecting transgender people including (i) discrimination and violence and (2) the issues affecting Black and other transgender people of color

Guests: Jennifer Levi and Tre-Andre Valentine

Jennifer is the director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and a nationally recognized expert on transgender legal issues. Levi led the legal fight against President Trump’s transgender military ban in both Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump. Levi has also been a leader in working on harm reduction for incarcerated transgender people. She is a law professor at Western New England University, co-editor of Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy (2012), and serves on the Legal Committee of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and a former law clerk to the Honorable Judge Michael Boudin at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Tre-Andre is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Politcal Coalition. They is is a queer, transgender indigenous Carib Indian, South Asian and Black immigrant from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. They have over 10 years of experience in supporting LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic violence, grassroots organizing, community engagement, fundraising, training facilitation, educational programming and development (specializing in anti-oppression and LGBTQ+ inclusion).

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.