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Photos -- Transgender Day of Remembrance
Photography by Antonia Padilla, QSanAntonio.com, November 20, 2010
Members of the community nearly filled the Metropolitan Community Church to capacity at this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance on Thursday, November 18.

Police Chief and Deputy Chief meet with SAGA
QSanAntonio.com, March 5, 2010

Police Chief William McManus and Deputy Police Chief Jose Banales met with members of the San Antonio Gender Association at their meeting on March 4. Chief McManus had not been scheduled to attend the meeting but at the last minute made time in his schedule for some brief comments before the group.

The appearance by SAPD brass at the meeting is the result of phone calls and appeals made to Chief McManus by SAGA officers requesting he address their concerns after a transgender woman was allegedly raped by a police officer last week.

Besides Chief McManus and Deputy Chief Banales, Captain Jimmy Reyes of the Major Crimes department also attended the meeting.

In addressing the members of SAGA the Police Chief was adamant in his insistence that he wants the police force to treat all citizens equally. "We condemn the sort of acts that brought us here tonight," he said. "We will not tolerate it. I cannot be any more blunt."

Last week, Police Chief William McManus apologized to the GLBT community for the incident involving the alleged rape of a transgender person by SAPD Officer Craig Nash.

SAGA President Ruby Krebs told QSanAntonio that she was glad that McManus and Banales had come to the meeting. "I want to make sure that we don’t jump to conclusions about the guilt or innocence of the arrested officer. He is innocent until proven guilty. However, it is important that we have assurances from the SAPD that our community is getting the protection it needs."

One SAGA member, Julia DeGrace, spoke to the Chief about the difficulties transgender citizens face in their everyday life. She also cited statistics that estimate the number of transgender people who reside in San Antonio to be somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000.

DeGrace also reminded the Chief the transgender community supported him when he was under fire from local Christian extremists for serving as Grand Marshal of the San Antonio Gay Pride Parade two years ago. DeGrace was one of many from the GLBT community who spoke before the City Council commending the Chief for his participation. The Chief acknowledged the support and thanked the group.

Deputy Chief Banales spoke after Chief McManus. His comments echoed the Chief’s promise that the SAPD’s goal is that all citizens of be treated equally. He concluded his statements by shaking the hand of every SAGA member at the meeting.

SAGA to be honored by social work organization
QSanAntonio.com, October 3, 2009

The San Antonio Gender Association will be the recipient of the Paul Wellstone Award for Community Service by the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology during its annual meeting being held in San Antonio on October 8 - 10.

The Paul Wellstone Community Service Award is presented to a person or organization in the community where the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology annual meeting is held. The recipient of the award is honored for "significant and noteworthy applied sociological contributions in the community they serve."

The presentation of the award will take place on Saturday October 10 at 12:00 p.m at the St. Anthony Hotel. Accepting the award for SAGA will be Michelle Meyers. About a half-dozen of SAGA members are expected to attend the presentation.

Past recipients of this award include Clara White Mission, Jacksonville, Florida (2008); ACCESS and SOS Community Services of Ypsilanti, Michigan (2007); and Applied Survey Research, San Jose, California (2006).

Paul David Wellstone (1944 - 2002) was a two-term U.S. Senator from the state of Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, an affiliate of the national Democratic Party. During the 1970s, he became involved in community organizing, working with the poor and other politically disenfranchised communities. During this period, he organized union members, farmers, and liberal activists. Later, he would use these connections in his bid for the Senate.

In addition to presenting the award to SAGA, the AACS will also host a special presentation on October 10 for its members in observance of National Coming Out Day which is October 11. Julia DeGrace, a transgender woman and member of HRC and SAGA, and Rev. Mick Hinson, pastor of MCC San Antonio, will be the featured speakers at a session entitled "How Self-Denial Destroys a Gay Person and the Significance of Coming Out."

S.A. Gender Association's presence at HRC gala
QSanAntonio.com, updated October 26, 2008

Organizers at the San Antonio Gender Association had a visible presence at the Human Rights Campaign’s Annual Gala and Silent Auction on October 25 at the Crown Plaza Riverwalk Hotel.

SAGA’s participation came in the form of an information table where the organization’s members distributed literature about transgender inclusion. They also asked HRC Gala attendees to add their names to a list of people who support a trans-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that is being considered by federal lawmakers.

For over a year now the Human Rights Campaign has sought to repair what has become a tenuous relationship with the transgender community after it endorsed a non-trans inclusive version of ENDA. Transgender people were included in the original legislation but were removed when Democratic lawmakers advised HRC that the bill would not pass if it included them.

On November 7, 2007, the bill passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 235 to 184. It has not yet been presented in the Senate.

Since the removal of transgender people from ENDA, HRC Galas have been the target of protests by activists around the country. Some of the protests, like those in Houston, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco became acrimonious and there were instances where police and security personnel ejected transgender advocates from those events.

"To my mind, and to that of most SAGA members, such protests are self-defeating to the transgender community," says Julia DeGrace, a SAGA organizer and member of HRC. "When transgender people picket HRC with signs that say things like ‘HRC is no friend of the transgender community,’ I can't help but wonder what the already misinformed citizens who we are trying to educate must think -- ‘Well if even the gays don't accept them, why should we consider it?’"

Hoping to avoid a confrontational protest, DeGrace worked with local HRC Governor George Page for permission to set up the information table.

"George cleared our request through the local board and also through HRC National. Both were naturally quite concerned about there being a boisterous protest or distribution of negative literature about HRC. I gave my word that SAGA's presence would be a positive one," says DeGrace.

"I think that many HRC members don't participate in monthly HRC activities; but just go to the annual Gala and contribute money," DeGrace adds. "Those members likely don't think about transgender issues one way or the other. Those are the people we wanted a chance to speak with, to educate, and to sign on as allies for a trans-inclusive ENDA."