To the New Orleans DSA Membership,
New Orleans DSA is committed to fighting for trans liberation and condemns transphobia and trans discrimination in all forms. We stand in solidarity with all trans people in their struggle for human rights and freedom from harassing, violent, or otherwise harmful stigmatizations. We know that the fight for socialism is a fight fundamentally seeking justice for all. We know that our trans and gender nonconforming comrades face discrimination in seeking basic human needs, such as healthcare, housing, jobs, and personal safety.
Liberal discourse around queer politics typically focuses on a highly limited set of issues which are exclusive to queer and trans people, particularly around recognition in marriage, the family, and legal documents. While these issues are important, this focus neglects the reality that many of the most oppressive aspects of queer and trans life are experienced through healthcare, housing, and the workplace–and as often through poverty and exploitation as through formal discrimination. . . . Queer and trans people in DSA have a voice in the country’s largest socialist movement that is capable of ensuring our inclusion in a powerful working-class subjectivity–not one which is created out of lowest common denominators, but instead one that unites workers in both our commonalities and our differences, and builds solidarity across identity lines.
We fight for trans liberation not simply because it is the clear moral choice, but because we fundamentally believe as socialists that no one is free until all are free. And while we support our members in personal growth as well as political education, we have a duty and responsibility to all of our members, community members, and the broader working class to be bold in our stance for trans justice.
In late October of 2020, our Chapter’s Harassment & Grievance Officers (HGOS) received notice of a grievance regarding transphobic social media posts from 2016 made by Bob M., a member of New Orleans DSA. HGOs met with the person who filed the grievance to listen and hear the best path forward, and Bob was then notified of the grievance in early December. Bob then deleted the posts (which are not reported here because they contained transphobic slurs) upon being informed of the grievance. Our chapter leadership, the Local Council, then met with Bob. To the Local Council, Bob acknowledged that he wrote the posts in question and expressed regret for their transphobic and harmful content. Regardless, the transphobic content in these tweets clearly violates our values as socialists and the standards to which we hold our members, and warranted prompt attention.
Traditionally, our Chapter’s harassment and grievance process calls for strict confidentiality to prevent further harm. However, in this instance, the circumstances were public knowledge before Local Council’s involvement; the tweets began to be shared more widely via social media; and Bob M. had recently launched a campaign for elected office in New Orleans. The Local Council agreed it was important that Bob address the grievance publicly, as part of his accountability process to the chapter and the community. Bob’s public statement on the grievance can be found here. In addition, we agreed it was important to address the situation directly ourselves to membership, as chapter leadership, to make clear our politics and values.
DSA is committed to creating a space that is welcoming and inclusive to members of all backgrounds. To ensure that everyone is able to organize without fear of harassment, abuse, or harm, DSA has a national harassment policy, known as Resolution 33. Resolution 33 was passed at the DSA National Convention in August 2017. Additionally, last month our membership ratified a Code of Conduct that applies to all members.
We welcome feedback on this statement and this process. Please reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org to reach the whole Local Council, email@example.com to reach the co-chairs, or firstname.lastname@example.org to reach our chapter’s Harassment & Grievance Officers. To report a grievance to the chapter at any time, please fill out the grievance form here and the HGOs will reach out to you.
New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America Local Council