Gender Justice LA works with the gender non-conforming, nonbinary, transgender, and two spirit community. The organization is led by and works to empower these communities, mainly people of color, including black, brown, indigenous, Asian and API folks and is also intergenerational. They work towards gender, racial, and economic justice fighting against major issues like physical violence, the lack of jobs based on discrimination, and transphobia.
The organization was first founded by Mason Davis and Nick Adam in 2002 and was then called the FTM Alliance. The organization focused on trans men or trans masculine people based on the lack of resources at that time. As that changed, the organization expanded to include others like transwomen, non-binary, and two spirit people and became Gender Justice LA.
Ezak Perez, the Executive Director, has been with the organization over 7 years and served in different positions including participating as a part of the youth leadership program, which helped them understand the link between fighting for their own life and the life of their community. Leadership development has been a key part of their work, serving as an incubator for trans people to come together to talk about healing and wellness, understand the political to develop their voices, and build a leaderful community. As a small organization they collaborate with other organizations like TransLatina Coalition including with their current leadership program Seeds of Liberación or SOL.
They also see the important role that art can play in social change. They incorporate Theatre of the Oppressed activities into many of their workshops, often work with artists, and incorporate art into their rallies and other events. They recently participated in a large art installation on Hollywood Blvd organized by Freewaves called LOVE &/OR FEAR: A Celebration of Genders in partnership with Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions which featured dance, performance art, public installations, visual art, and zines.
We use art as a tool to create social change. We use Theatre of the Oppressed using theatre to express ourselves and bring about issues affecting the community. We do embodiment. Games. We make sure our community is laughing and having joy along the way - Ezak Perez, Executive Director