Ep 12: Advocacy, Intersectionality & Mental Health
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Today’s episode is on advocacy, intersectionality & mental health with Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, Director of the Trans/Gender Nonconforming Justice Project and the Disability Justice Project at the National LGBTQ Task Force. Victoria and Alice have a conversation about social justice, the politics of hypervisibility, the toxic aspects of activism, transgender mental health, and healthcare discrimination, and more.
National Transgender Discrimination Survey (2010)
Victoria is the Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force. Particular areas of expertise and focus are the intersections of issues affecting transgender people with disabilities and mental illness, anti- trans workplace discrimination and gun violence prevention from a social justice lens. She has been in trans advocacy the entirety of her adult life, including advocacy in Puerto Rico and in Maine. She is the author of “Valuing Transgender Applicants and Employees”, a gold-standard best practices guide for employers, and frequently speaks on discrimination issues impacting the trans community. She was named the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s 2016 Ally of the Year Award and has been profiled in NBC News and Latina Magazine, among other outlets. Prior to joining the Task Force, she worked as an Equal Opportunity Specialist for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center. Victoria holds a B.A. in Psychology with honors from the University of Puerto Rico, and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law.
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Sarika D. Mehta, Audio Producer
Alice Wong, Writer, Producer, Interviewer
Cheryl Green, Text Transcript
Lateef McLeod, Introduction
Mike Mort, Artwork
Theme Music (used with permission of artist)
Song: “Dance Off”
Artist: Wheelchair Sports Camp
Maximum Respect For You by Lobo Loco (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License).
Frisco Nights by Lobo Loco (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License).
Sage the Hunter by Blue Dot Sessions (licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial License)
“VOCODER countdown” by Jack_Master. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.
“8 Bit Beeping Computer Sounds” by sheepfilms. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.
Oh my goodness, I thought I was imagining some of this. Actually, I think I knew perfectly well I wasn’t imagining it, and yet it still felt that way.
Many of us with mental illness try to support each other, but how much are we able to speak up for our community as a whole? Are we welcome to the social justice table, and if so, are we aware of that? Do we feel welcome? Are we invited, or simply permitted? Are we even showing up? And how much of that is on us? One of our particular challenges is that there are plenty of strong voices in other communities, but we can feel least able to advocate for ourselves precisely when we most need it. We need more voices like Ms. Rodríguez-Roldán’s.
It’s unfortunate, because those in other marginalized groups are also more likely to become a part of our group, which in turn can compound their situation. Having a mental illness is challenging enough for me as a white dude, but I’m also aware that I’m able to advocate for myself in situations where a person of color or trans person might not feel able to, or might be ignored even if they did.