Joe Mirabella

Sacramento Activists Demand Employment Protections

Filed By Joe Mirabella | May 15, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Autumn Sandeen, bathrooms, direct action group, employment protections, ENDA, protests, Sacramento, transgender activists

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists entered public bathrooms Friday afternoon at Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, CA.

They handed out fliers and engaged the public in conversation about the importance of employment nondiscrimination policies, like the ENDA.

Organizer Sara Beth Brooks told the Bilerico Project, "A bathroom should be a safe place for everyone. There are people who are afraid to use the restroom at their workplace, because they are harassed or ridiculed. We hear their stories, and today we are sharing those stories with the public."

In a text message moments after the action began, Brooks wrote, "Fliering the bathroom. Getting really positive response."

Brooks was joined by other activists, including Autumn Sandeen from Pam's House Blend. Sandeen was arrested on April 20th when she chained herself to the White House Fence with Lt. Dan Choi to protest "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Photos and update after the jump.

photo bathroom brooks.jpg

(Above from right to left) Sara Beth Brooks, Cortney Shelly and Petra Lee

photo bathroom sandeen.jpg

(Above from right to left Autumn Andeen, Petra Lee, and Courtney Shelley

UPDATE: I just spoke to Sara Beth Brooks. She said, "Everything went well. We had lots of positive public response. I don't think we encountered any negative reactions what so ever. The police were never called. The mall security spoke with our police negotiator and allowed us to continue our protest unencumbered."

I asked her what's coming up next. She told me, "We are all looking forward to the California Transgender Leadership Summit in Davis, California on UC Davis Campus. It is a project of the Transgender Law Center and Equality California this weekend. Most of us will be there."

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Andrew is going to love this report.

Now you've done it, Deena. You've awaken him from his sleep and he's now looking for a tasty morsel to devour. I see the trees in the forest rattling and shaking. It ain't gonna be pretty.

Cynic. See, I told you he would love it. And you probably thought I was being sarcastic.

This was "information sharing." Your headline that included the word "demanding," wasn't necessary or even accurate. This was, in fact, an attempt to "engage in conversation," without drama or demanding or threatening. It is unfair to even call it a "protest."

Good for them. Thank-you Sara, Cortney and Petra.

Maybe you can post the "flier" they used.

Any attempt at "education" is helpful. It seems their goal was "understanding," and not simply headlines. They weren't demanding as you've suggested - they were sharing. THAT is helpful and probably effective.

This form of "direct-action" should be encouraged. It should include neighbors, friends, co-workers and even strangers. It leads to understanding and THAT encourages people to join us and/or support us. It does have the potential of changing minds.

Handcuffing yourself to a fence or refusing to leave an office - in an attempt to get attention - does not change minds.

Sara Beth Brooks | May 18, 2010 9:13 PM

Hey, as a matter of clarification, it was my press release that said demanding.

Joe or Bilerico should have had the journalistic integrity to remove "demanding" from the title. It wasn't demanding at all. But, Joe loves the idea of making "demands." He is in love with the idea that you have to abuse people to get their support. Of course, he has no evidence, but it still turns him on.

I appreciate your efforts. I hope you continue to focus on how we can change minds with information and understanding. Demanding doesn't work. I think people would be interested in the flier you distributed. They may want to "inform" in their own communities.


Handing out pamphlets, signs, protests, outside or near a bathroom is one thing.

Soliciting, staging, approaching, protesting inside, or slowing down a person as they are entering a restroom seems a bit intrusive, obnoxious and counterproductive in the long run.

Keep the protest or action outside and at a distance from the restroom.

Agreed. It's not about "demanding," even though Joe hasn't changed that yet. It's about informing and even asking for support.

I ♥ Sara Beth Brooks. She's a vibrant and intelligent activist with a heart of gold.

Why aren't we flyering more often?

Because it's too nice? Because it isn't demanding? Because it isn't fighting?

Or maybe it's because it is actually effective and requires thoughtful actions instead of yelling and complaining.

Just don't expect to get your face on a GetATTENTION t-shirt for "flyering."

The $27.99 David Mixner t-shirt:

Plus Shipping.