Carter Brown, pictured with his wife Espy Brown, founded the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition.

After missing a couple of years, Black Trans Advocacy Coalition is again holding its annual conference in Dallas

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, which is holding its 10th annual conference in Dallas this week, started as a local organization. Carter Brown said he put together a local organization for Black trans men simply because there wasn’t a group like that in Dallas.

The goal, Brown said, was socializing and sharing available resources.

To learn best practices for such a group, Brown said he went looking for the other Black trans men’s groups around the country. But he couldn’t find any. Instead, Black trans men from around the country were reaching out to him.

So within a short time, what started as a local group became a national organization.

And almost just as suddenly, Black Trans Women became a sister organization under a new umbrella organization — Black Trans Advocacy Coalition. Brown’s influence has grown along with the organization: He’s testified before Congress about the Equality Act. And in 2020, The Root named him one of the 100 most influential African-Americans ages 25 to 45.

Black Tie Dinner recognized the work of BTAC last year, as well, when it named the organization a beneficiary. BTAC was the first Black organization to become a BTD beneficiary in the 40-year history of the annual fundraising dinner, and one of the first transgender groups named to receive funds.

Now BTAC helps Black trans people with a variety of life-saving services — emergency assistance for food, applying for public benefits and obtaining legal identity documents.

It helps Black trans people find inclusive health resources and provides or helps them find financial assistance to help cover healthcare costs.
BTAC Employment Services helps find employment opportunities with companies that don’t discriminate, and it helps prepare trans people with career readiness skills.

Housing is another area BTAC has tackled, finding safe and secure emergency shelter as well as permanent housing for its members.

The BTAC conference
This week, Black trans men and women have converged on Dallas for the 10th BTAC conference. The week includes more than 50 workshops, seminars, CE courses, general sessions, open-forum discussions and guest speakers.

The conference is free and open to the public.

Workshops are divided into a wide variety of categories, including spiritual wellness, physical wellness, emotional wellness, leadership development, employment and more. Topics are diverse and take a deep dive into how people who are transgender can live a better life physically and emotionally.

Among the available workshops are several focused on employment topics, include overcoming trans invisibility in the workplace, financial wellness for trans people and Young. Black. Trans Tech. In that last workshop, Sunnie Jones uses storytelling to capture how someone could enter and be successful in the tech field.

Physical wellness topics include a workshop with Sha’Rose Erion, owner of Rose Pelvic Physiotherapy, who discusses how gender affirming care can involve a series of invasive procedures that can cause neurological, musculoskeletal and psychological impairments. She’ll show how pelvic health physical therapy techniques for the gender diverse and transgender patients improve the effectiveness of gender affirming care.

G Williams from The Trevor Project will be on hand to discuss how educators can support trans youth of color and their mental health.

There is a broad variety of issues being addressed. And while the trans community, especially trans men and women of color, is under attack in Texas and most states across the country, BTAC’s conference is focused on making Black trans lives healthier, happier and more productive.

Although there will be a lot of serious topics addressed throughout the week, the conference is also a lot of fun. Among the evening events are the Black Trans International Pageant that took place on Thursday night to crown Mr. and Miss Black Trans International. The pageant is held early enough in the week that the newly-crowned winners can bask in the glory of their victories for a couple of days before the conference draws to a close on Sunday.

BTAC continues through April 30 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Dallas Near the Galleria, 4099 Valley View Lane.