Building Stronger Networks at the Speed of Trust

As the Director of TRANSform Washington, a program of Pride Foundation, I was excited to come together with more than 20 trans and gender diverse leaders from across Washington at our first-ever statewide convening on nonbinary messaging and strategy. At the beginning of March—what felt like mere moments before the world shut down—we had this amazing opportunity to come together, and we feel so grateful for the thoughtfulness, love, and incredible energy that all of the participants brought to this conversation.

In all movements that work to build public support and understanding, determining what stories are told, how they are told, and who tells them is critical to making real change.

For years, Pride Foundation has conducted messaging research as part of our public education efforts. This research helps develop ways to share our stories in meaningful ways that help bring about shifts in hearts, minds, and our broader culture. We use it to determine the best messages to move people to become allies, the best spokespersons to deliver these messages, and to inform strategies to combat harmful narratives used by opposition.

This convening was an important opportunity to come together to ensure all of these efforts moving forward are community-driven and infused with Indigenous values every step of the way.

There are critical messaging ideas within our own communities that we can use to build out grassroots organizing strategies. We want community to lead messaging work and tailor the lessons learned to the communities they serve and come from. We also want to focus on healing our trans and gender diverse communities while building stronger networks across the state at the speed of trust.

That trust can only be built through intentional relationship building and the recognition that, in order to truly move forward, Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color folks need to lead it. The messaging must be developed by those doing the work on the ground, and by those most impacted by the issues.

This convening was just the beginning in this new phase of message development—and we can’t wait to keep dreaming, scheming, and relationship building with this amazing group of humans.


Isyss Honnen is Director of TRANSform Washington.

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