Xavier, Jessica

Jessica Xavier earned her Master of Public Health at the University of Maryland in 2005 while simultaneously serving as co-investigator and field manager of the Virginia Transgender Health Initiative Study.  THIS was a statewide initiative to improve the health of the transgender population of Virginia, implemented by the Community Health Research Initiative of Virginia Commonwealth University for the Virginia Department of Health. THIS was the first state-wide initiative to comprehensively assess HIV, substance abuse, violence and suicide risks in a transgender population in the U.S., and included qualitative and quantitative surveys, provider trainings and a provider resource and referral database. Ms. Xavier has worked in the HIV/AIDS epidemic for the past 26 years, both in treatment and in prevention. During that time she has co-founded several transgender-specific organizations, including Gender Education & Advocacy (GEA), a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of all gender-variant people, regardless of their sexual identities. She has presented on transgender issues both nationally and internationally, and has consulted with local, state and national health and human service organizations on transgender health issues. From 1998 to 2000, she was Principal Investigator for the bilingual Washington, DC Transgender Needs Assessment Survey (WTNAS) which documented a 32% rate of HIV infection among male-to-female persons of color living in the District of Columbia.  She is currently an employee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

These essays were written in 1999 and represented my attempt to conceptualize a transfeminist perspective on the privilege possessed by people who were able to conceal their social stigmas. At the time, the transpolitical movement was making the argument that including gender identity in ENDA would also protect visibly gender variant gay men who were feminine-appearing and lesbians who were masculine-appearing. Previously, the concept of passing had been written about in the literature on race, and in my essays I simply extended it to include trans people; gay, lesbian and bisexual people; and differently-abled people.

As far as I know, these essays are the origin of the passing as privilege construct.

Jessica Xavier,
Kensington MD
November 2010

2 Responses to Xavier, Jessica

  1. John Coulter says:

    Was thinking about you.


  2. Ona Cavey says:

    Hello Jessica,
    You may not remember me, but I was your neighbor on your street back in the ’90’s and we would carpool sometimes to work when you needed a ride.
    You have been on my mind so much lately and I wanted to reach out to let you know that I’m thinking about you and hope you’re doing well.
    I moved to Asheville NC 3 years ago and the past few years here have truly been a political roller-coaster ride for the LBGT community, with the most recent legislation being extremely disheartening.
    I’m only one person , but I want you to know how much I’ve always respected you and greatly admired your courage. Keep up this most important work that you do!
    All my best, Ona


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