Southern Arizona Gender Alliance

Transgender Community Support & Advocacy since 1998


Posted by Miki Odawa on October 23, 2012
Posted in Static 


We’re glad you found the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance!

SAGA is a non-profit organization that supports and advocates for southern Arizona’s community of trans identities: transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, masculine of center, feminine of center, non-binary, two-spirit, butch, femme, gender fluid, intersex, and ALL of us who are gender fabulous!

SAGA envisions a society in which transgender, non-binary, and gender-creative people are ensured of their basic rights and can be open, honest and safe at home and in the community. We provide support groups, advocacy, community education, and training for businesses, service providers, and community members on how our allies can be supportive and inclusive.

Special Presentation at Dezert Advocatz May 19

Posted by Miki Odawa on May 17, 2016
Posted in NewsUncategorized 


Come learn about the unique challenges of effective organizing in the transgender community. The PowerPoint presentation will be combined with questions, answers and discussion about how the lessons the Arizona trans community learned in defeating Arizona’s own “bathroom bill” in 2013 can be applied to the issues we face today.

This presentation was developed jointly by Michael Woodward and Abby Jensen, who will be presenting it together at the Gender Odyssey conference in Seattle in August.  Come hear the preview at the Dezert Advocate meeting Thursday, May 19th, at Fluxx.


SAGA Goes to the White House (sort of)

Posted by Miki Odawa on May 17, 2016
Posted in News 

On May 16th, four SAGA members provided information to conferrees at the White House Regional Summit on LGBT Issues, which was held at the Arizona State University in Tempe.  Abby Jensen provided a presentation on the State of Nondiscrimination against trans people, while Claire spoke about the challenges for trans people in accessing health care.  Amy D’Arpino gave evidence about the needs of trans children, while Erin Russ spoke about the future of nondiscrimination.

Following the Summit, SAGA Vice President and General Counsel Abby Louise Jensen appeared on KAET’s nightly news program, Horizon, to discuss the Department of Education and Department of Justice’s guidance on the proper treatment of transgender students under Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination in education. (KAET is the Phoenix PBS TV station.)

You can watch that segment here:

Abby Jensen, Claire Swinford and Erin Russ, with White House Liaison Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

Abby Jensen, Claire Swinford and Erin Russ, with White House Liaison Raffi Freedman-Gurspan

Discrimination Against Transgender People is Unlawful

Posted by Miki Odawa on May 2, 2016
Posted in NewsUncategorized 

Despite all the uproar about anti-transgender laws proposed or enacted in a couple of retrograde states lately, bathroom access for trans people is already protected under federal law.  Since federal laws and regulations always trump state law, the legislation is not expected to stand the light of day.

The following is taken from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website:

Fact Sheet: Bathroom Access Rights for Transgender Employees Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • “Transgender” refers to people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from the sex assigned to them at birth (e.g. the sex listed on an original birth certificate). The term transgender woman typically is used to refer to someone who was assigned the male sex at birth but who identifies as a female.  Likewise, the term transgender man typically is used to refer to someone who was assigned the female sex at birth but who identifies as male.  A person does not need to undergo any medical procedure to be considered a transgender man or a transgender woman.
  • In addition to other federal laws, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation). Title VII applies to all federal, state, and local government agencies in their capacity as employers, and to all private employers with 15 or more employees.
  • In Macy v. Dep’t of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821, 2012 WL 1435995 (Apr. 12, 2012), the EEOC ruled that discrimination based on transgender status is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII, and in Lusardi v. Dep’t of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133395, 2015 WL 1607756 (Mar. 27, 2015), the EEOC held that:
    • denying an employee equal access to a common restroom corresponding to the employee’s gender identity is sex discrimination;
    • an employer cannot condition this right on the employee undergoing or providing proof of surgery or any other medical procedure; and,
    • an employer cannot avoid the requirement to provide equal access to a common restroom by restricting a transgender employee to a single-user restroom instead (though the employer can make a single-user restroom available to all employees who might choose to use it).
  • Contrary state law is not a defense under Title VII. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-7.
  • In G.G. ex rel. Grimm v. Gloucester Cty. Sch. Bd., — F.3d –, 2016 WL 1567467 (4th Cir. 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reached a similar conclusion by deferring to the Department of Education’s position that the prohibition against sex discrimination under Title IX requires educational institutions to give transgender students restroom and locker access consistent with their gender identity.
  • Gender-based stereotypes, perceptions, or comfort level must not interfere with the ability of any employee to work free from discrimination, including harassment. As the Commission observed in Lusardi:  “[S]upervisory or co-worker confusion or anxiety cannot justify discriminatory terms and conditions of employment.  Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sex whether motivated by hostility, by a desire to protect people of a certain gender, by gender stereotypes, or by the desire to accommodate other people’s prejudices or discomfort.”
  • Like all non-discrimination provisions, these protections address conduct in the workplace, not personal beliefs. Thus, these protections do not require any employee to change beliefs.  Rather, they seek to ensure appropriate workplace treatment so that all employees may perform their jobs free from discrimination.
  • Further information from other federal government agencies includes: A Guide to Restroom Access for Transgender Workers, issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),, and Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Federal Workplace, issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
  • If you believe you have been discriminated against, you may take action to protect your rights under Title VII by filing a complaint:

SAGA Family Picnic April 3

Posted by Miki Odawa on March 26, 2016
Posted in News 

picnicSAGA and Living Out Loud presented a wonderful Spring Picnic in Reid Park, a celebration of International Transgender Day of Visibility.  The food was bountiful, the spring weather was amazing, and the community was delightful. Read more

New Social Justice group founded

Posted by Miki Odawa on March 12, 2016
Posted in News 

SAGA invites you to join us for our newest support group, Gender Advocatz, which will focus on analysis and action for all kinds of community advocacy and civic engagement around the role of trans people in society. This group is intended to help trans people and our allies become more effective in affecting the laws and customs that rule our lives.

The Gender Advocatz group meets on the third Thursday of every month at Fluxx Studios, 690 E. 19th Street, #130 in Tucson.

SAGA Goes to Lobby Day

Posted by Miki Odawa on March 12, 2016
Posted in News 

EQAZ-LobbyDayFlyer_v5X7_P4_FINAL_WebOn Monday, March 21st, SAGA’s Gender Advocatz group participated in Equality Day at the State Capitol.  Six SAGA members make the trip to Phoenix to press the legislature about issues important for the LGBTQ community, including nondiscrimination, foster and adoption and transgender equality.  Meet with elected officials and advocate for an Arizona that is truly welcoming and Open for Business to Everyone.

If you would like to participate in Equality Day, come to the Gender Advocatz meeting on March 17th to register and coordinate with others. Read more

Name Change Clinic March 26

Posted by Miki Odawa on March 12, 2016
Posted in News 

Name Change Clinic 3-26-16SAGA, in conjunction with UA’s Pride Law, is proud to announce the second Name and Gender Marker Change Clinic for Southern Arizona transgender and gender nonconforming adults, youth and children!*  This clinic is designed to help individuals legally change their name and/or gender markers.  Law students, supervised by SAGA’s Vice President and general Counsel Abby Louise Jensen, will provide FREE information and assistance with the paperwork and process.

*Children and youth under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Read more

SAGA Named Charity of the Year

Posted by Miki Odawa on February 13, 2016
Posted in News 

In its year-end awards, the Tucson GLBT Chamber of Commerce named SAGA as its 2015 Charity of the Year.  Here, Chamber President Joseph Howell presents the award to SAGA Director of Programs Erin Russ, in a brief ceremony February 1st.


SAGA President Miki Odawa was also named Community Leader of the Year.

Help SAGA Grow!

Posted by Miki Odawa on February 12, 2016
Posted in NewsUncategorized 

What a busy time this has been! In the short time since SAGA reorganized we’ve been working hard to reinvigorate our alliance. Today we want to let you know what we’ve been up to, and to thank you for your support — without which we would never have been able to grow.
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