COMMISSIONER PROFILE: Chela Demuir

Chela Demuir is a pioneer of Trans rights in Southern California. In 1997, she founded the Unique Woman’s Coalition, the first organization in the region created by and for Black Trans women. What began as a weekly support group eventually led to the Trans Pride LA, the LA County Transgender Task Force and the Transgender Youth Network. Demuir recently marked another milestone — the opening of the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center — a new facility on the West Hollywood/Los Angeles city limits that will house the Unique Woman’s Coalition, as well as other Trans-focused nonprofits. Demuir also serves on West Hollywood’s new Social Justice Task Force. She spoke with WEHOville about issues facing the Trans community today.

What does it mean to be a ‘unique woman’ in 2021?

Members of our community are living fully in their truths across the world. We’re living longer and more of us are contributors to the world at large; working and creating in nearly every industry. Community members can dream and live those dreams.

What are the greatest misconceptions people have about Trans people?

One of the biggest misconceptions about Trans people is that we’re different, somehow so incredibly different that we cannot have anything in common with non-trans identified people.

How can West Hollywood do a better job of creating equitable conditions for trans people?

When we talk about equity, it isn’t so different than what would be equitable for you. Access to all the tools for a healthy and established life, that’s the part that can be individualized. Healthy and established life can look different for each of us.  Having access to housing, education, and health would be a great start and not having to jump through several layers of red tape and bureaucracy to get them.

How do you feel about gender neutral bathrooms?

I believe in using the bathroom alone, we’re brought up as children to go to the bathroom alone. The adoption of GN bathrooms removes someone from having to choose a gender marked bathroom; which actually can be a traumatic experience. With GN bathrooms everyone can feel comfortable and affirmed.  The City of West Hollywood has and continues to lead with safety and inclusion, I’m hopeful this implementation is easy.

How do Trans rights and social justice fit in with one another? 

This is where we have an intersectionality, the social justice movement is about leveling the fields across the board so that our basic needs are met without struggle or bureaucracy to access them. Trans rights are one in the same, in addition we want federal protections laws. We want laws that protect and value our lives.

Chela Demuir (left) at the opening of the Connie Norman Trans Empowerment Center

Tell us about the new trans empowerment center. What are your hopes for the center and its future?

We’re excited about the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center. First thing the focus is on empowerment, it will not be a building filled with service providers, it will be a home for several Trans-led organizations including Unique Woman’s Coalition as an anchor org and also FLUX, a national division of the Aids Healthcare Foundation. The center will focus on building capacity, leadership and advocacy while giving our siblings office space to call home, it’s our version of a Trans-powered work space.

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Recall Erickson and Shyne
Recall Erickson and Shyne
1 month ago

I agree with academic and writer Germaine Greer who has said that in her opinion, transgender women are “not women”.She also claims that “a great many women” who are not transgender think transgender women – who she refers to as “male to femaletransgender people” – do not “look like, sound like or behave like women”. To the unisex 3, SHE, Sepi, Horvath and he/she/it Erica Erickson this of course is treason. And against their political Woke agenda. To eliminate urinals in West Hollywood and satisfying Sepi and Erica’s . Obsession with toilet use. Instead of doing something about clean streets,… Read more »

Have Dignity
Have Dignity
1 month ago

I was thinking about a few of the points you mentioned this afternoon. Rather than concentrating on the wholeness and good health of the entire city, these two individuals are doing their best to create divisions between various groups making them feel as though they are marginalized victims and must be reliant on them to move forward. It becomes a house divided against itself not recognizing the humanity of us all. Their protestations of Social Justice belies innate wholeness which is naturally differentiated by positive attributes showing respect and dignity. Meanwhile the sordid actions that go untended are as degrading… Read more »

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Have Dignity

So you have no problem with the original poster dehumanizing trans people and calling someone “it”? That isn’t divisive to you?

Have Dignity
Have Dignity
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

First I missed that, secondly am not a hammer looking for nails and thirdly it is possible that Councilmember Erickson, if that is the reference, has brought on his own issues for which he might take responsibility. Am neither judge nor jury simply one that respects high standards and responsibility. Public Service requires an inherent public obligation.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
28 days ago
Reply to  Have Dignity

How could miss anything? Just read the comment…

Have Dignity
Have Dignity
28 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

You are relatively two days late reading the reply to your original complaint.

Miguel R
Miguel R
29 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

So you have no problem with the original poster calling someone it?

How dare you impose your gender standards on others!!
Pronoun Nazi!!!

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

LOL

Curious
Curious
1 month ago

What are the barriers to housing, education, and health for Trans people?

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Curious

In west hollywood you get the star treatment. Praised by wehoville. And a sparkling new facility.

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