NYAGRA is non-hierarchical in its organizational structure, and is dedicated to serving and drawing members of many experiences — gender, racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, and sexual orientation — throughout the State of New York.
While NYAGRA’s efforts are focused at the level of individual self-determination, it also recognizes that the acceptance of gender-variant people also requires changes in social understandings of gender and sexuality, and is therefore dedicated to educating the broader population through media outreach to the issues faced by gender-variant people.
The New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy is a membership organization that advocates at the state and local level for self-determination in gender expression and identity. NYAGRA sees its constituency as including all individuals who experience discrimination and violence because of the ways in which they choose to express their gender. Such individuals may include, but are not limited to: transgender-identified and transexual people, and gender non-conforming people who identify as gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals.
DEFINITIONS AND TERMS
By “gender non-conforming” or “gender variant” we mean those individuals who do not always conform to the social expectation that those born male will consistently present themselves as “masculine men” and those born female will consistently present themselves as “feminine women.”
“Gender variance” and “gender nonconformity” are terms used by NYAGRA to draw together a wide variety of people who may identify in terms of gender and sexuality as men, women, transexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, female-to-male, male-to-female, crossdressers, transvestites, drag kings, drag queens, stone butches, intersex, two-spirit, men and women of transgender experience, fem queens, butches, genderqueers, and androgynes. We recognize that these identities indicate a wide variety of experiences, and that not all gender-variant individuals share common identities, goals, or needs. However, as targets of hate crimes and violence, and of discrimination in employment, child custody cases, access to health care, and so on, gender-variant individuals share a common interest in ending such discrimination and violence.
Hence, we also recognize the right to bodily self-determination for transexual people and for those individuals born anatomically neither entirely male nor female (“intersexed,” traditionally known as “hermaphrodites”), who are routinely subjected to intersex genital mutilation (IGM) in order to force them to conform to preconceived notions of what is anatomically correctly male or female.
We recognize that gender identity and expression are inextricably linked with issues of race, ethnicity, nationality, religious belief, and citizenship status, as well as income, wealth, class, and (dis)ability, and we are committed to addressing those issues as they arise in our work on gender issues. Further, our commitment to contesting rigid societal gender roles is informed by the feminist critique of the sex/gender binary of masculinity and femininity and the assignment at birth of gender identity based on preconceived notions of sex. As such, we are pro-human rights, and work for social equality for all.