Hayashi most recently served as the executive director of the Transgender Law Center and previously led the Audre Lorde Project as its executive director/co-director.
“We could not be more excited or honored to welcome Kris Hayashi to our team and the Task Force family. Kris will bring immeasurable expertise to our advocacy and policy work as our community, especially our trans and non-binary siblings, are under unrelenting and unprecedented attacks,” said Kierra Johnson, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, in a statement.
Hayashi told The Advocate that he was “honored” and thrilled to be joining Johnson and the Task Force. But he understands there is a real danger to LGBTQ+ rights, specifically to the rights of transgender people.
“I will say that particularly at this moment, particularly at this time when trans communities, when nonbinary communities, when we are facing an escalation in attacks on our rights and our lives, I am excited to be joining the Task Force to be able to support and continue the organization’s work to really build an LGBTQ progressive movement that centers trans power, resistance, and joy,” he said.
The work he has before him isn’t anything new, Hayashi explained.
“As a trans person, as a person of color, as a queer person here in the U.S., from a pretty young age, I understood that the world was not set up for me to survive and thrive,” he said.
That experience led him to a professional career in advocacy and activism from California to New York.
“I was really fortunate and privileged to have mentors — from Black power movements, from migrant justice movements, from environmental justice movements — who really took me under their wing, and I really learned from them the ways that our communities have in the past and continue to speak truth to power, to fight for justice, and to build strong movements,” Hayashi said.
As he sets out to lead the Task Force’s advocacy and action arm, Hayashi said it’s important to understand the violence LGBTQ+ people already face. Attacks on transgender and nonbinary people were already endemic. Now, there’s a more legislative turn that’s amplifying the attacks.
“In this moment, trans and nonbinary people are facing just an extreme escalation in attacks on our rights and lives across the globe, but specifically here in the U.S.,” Hayashi said. “Over 20 states have passed laws that ban and in some cases criminalize our health care. Similarly, states have banned trans you from playing sports. We’re seeing attacks on our ability to get identity documents, [go to] bathrooms, even [our names].”
He continued: “It’s very clear that the conservative right is using attacking trans and non-binary people to advance their anti-democratic agenda, which ultimately impacts everyone.”
Hayashi said that local LGBTQ+ leaders are still trying to combat such measures, but they need support. They need more help.
That’s where, he said, the Task Force and his work comes in.
“[Local leaders] cannot do it alone,” he said. “This is a time when we need to bring all of our resources and all our capacities into this fight because there is just so much at stake, not just for trans people, but really for all of us.”