Jody and Rosemary interview Los Angeles transgender activist Drian Juarez. In this episode hear Drian explain her transitional journey from childhood, to coming out to her parents to finding her way to her current posiition as Board President of Gender Justice LA. In this episode we also discuss Bruce Jenner’s interview on ABC. (This episode was recorded before Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover was released. ) A great listen for anyone inside or outside of the LGBTQ community, especially parents.
Drian Juarez works as a consultant on Transgender issues in the workplace and assists in developing programs for communities endeavoring to help Transgender people get back to work. Juarez has served as the Program Manager for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s Transgender Economic Empowerment Project (TEEP). Building a solid foundation for TEEP, Juarez established cross-organizational/cross-functional teams to assist in the mission of developing substantive employment and business opportunities for the Los Angeles Transgender community. Under her direction, TEEP has worked with over one thousand Transgender people by assisting with basic housing and helping Transgender people move from the street economy to assisting with more complex job skills like resume writing and job searches for Transgender people who transitioned after establishing professional careers.
In her role, Juarez developed a coalition of grass-roots organizations to help meet the specific needs of the Transgender community. She has collaborated with homeless shelters to provide housing and basic living needs, coordinated with non-profits and schools to offer basic job training and has taught over 500 employers in law enforcement, government entities and businesses on the unique issues faced by the Transgender community.
Juarez, who is also a current member of the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board, got her start as a community organizer when she was hired as the Lead HIV Outreach Health Educator at a local Los Angeles non-profit agency. In that capacity, Juarez provided a myriad of services in the West Hollywood area to trans-women to help them move from the street economy to empowering career paths and job opportunities.
Through her work Juarez has not only developed a significant knowledge base of the resources required to help transgender people get back to work but also understands what it takes to build lasting relationships with the variety of community-based social service agencies and employers who support the work of TEEP.
As a Latina Transgender immigrant, Juarez has witnessed firsthand the effects of unemployment discrimination, underemployment, and bigotry that many transgender people endure. In 2005, Juarez became active in the West Hollywood Transgender Taskforce, which ultimately became the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board and was the first government-recognized board in the nation to advise a city council on transgender issues. Her work spans various organizations including the Transgender Service Provider Network, the Transgender Law Center’s Transgender Economic Development Initiative, and Transgender Leadership Council.
Juarez designed the first Transgender Memorial Plaque for the city of West Hollywood erected at Mathew Sheppard Triangle in 2009, and inscribe with an original poem also written by Juarez. In 2010 Juarez received the Trans-Unity Trailblazer Award, the Minority AIDS Project Community Award, in 2013 she received the City of West Hollywood’s Rainbow Key Award, in 2014 she was one of Congressman Adam Schiff’s Woman of the Year and was listed on the national Trans* 100 list. She has also graduated from the Los Angeles Police Department LGBT Community Police Academy and has become a certified trainer for the Los Angeles Police Department.
In 2012, Juarez was elected the Board President of Gender Justice LA (formally FTM Alliance). Juarez is a sought after speaker having presented locally and at national conferences. She has also served as a vocal advocate on behalf of Transgender issues and a consultant to local, state and national lawmakers on creating Trans-friendly legislation.
Drian Juarez at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.
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