Collective Structure

Why a Collective?

SRLP functions as a multi-racial, inter-generational collective of people committed to a broad understanding of gender self-determination. As a collective, we recognize that it is essential to create structures that model our vision of a more just society. We believe that in the struggle for social justice too often change is perceived as a product and not a process. We seek to use a non-hierarchical structure to support work that aims to redistribute power and wealth for a more just society. We also strongly believe that our community-based structure, which maximizes community involvement, will support the sustainability of our work and the accountability of SRLP to its constituency. We have developed an organizational structure with five equally important teams and a Board working together on a shared vision and mission. The Direct Services Team runs our legal clinic, makes determinations about how to take and handle cases, advocates for policy reform within institutions that impact our community, and sustains relationships with allied service providers. The Public Education Team creates and implements our trainings for other groups and organizations, creates and distributes our public education materials, develops and maintains our website, and creates and implements SRLP's media advocacy work. The Fundraising and Finance Team is responsible for raising money for our operations, coordinating our budget-planning process, maintaining relationships with our donor base, creating fundraising events, and administering our financial systems. The Collective Development Team is responsible for recruiting staff and collective members, for making policies and programs regarding SRLP's diversity, and developing policies and procedures for SRLP staff and collective members. The Movement Building Team develops the skills, leadership and political power of low-income transgender people and transgender people of color to participate in our movements for gender, racial, social, and economic justice. The Board is charged with oversight of the legal, ethical, and moral responsibilities of the organization and its financial health. By creating an organization that functions as a collective, SRLP is developing a structure where people committed to gender self-determination, and trans, intersex, and gender variant people can take powerful leadership roles in transforming their own lives as well as their community and the world.

Core Values/Vision

The following core values provide the basis of SRLP's work. It is the responsibility of all collective members to recognize and promote these values in all actions taken in SRLP's name.

  1. We can't just work to reform the system. The system itself is the problem.
  2. Oppressed people need to be empowered with the skills and vision to fight for their own liberation. For SRLP, this includes taking reasonable steps to provide necessary training and resources.
  3. All oppressed people need to work together in solidarity to end all forms of oppression. For this reason, SRLP values coalition work with organizations whose stated missions reflect our organizational values.
  4. We believe that the struggle for gender self-determination will in the end be fought by our whole communities, and it will win liberation for all of our people.
  5. It is critical that transgender, intersex, and gender variant people and people of color, especially low-income people, youth, and people with disabilities, take leadership in our work. Furthermore, SRLP as an organization must actively work to realize this goal.
  6. SRLP strives to maintain gender parity at all levels of the organization.
  7. SRLP believes that the working environment of an organization shapes the work, and for this reason we strive to create an environment that is non-hierarchical in structure and operates by consensus.

Diversity Goals

SRLP is committed to maintaining a collective body that is diverse in terms of age, race, economic status, class, ability, size, education, citizenship, national origin, ancestry, sexuality, employment status, religion, and gender. It is vitally important that the collective body reflects the communities it serves. To this end, the majority of the collective should be comprised of people of color, people of trans, intersex and gender non-conforming experience, and low-income people. SRLP also strives to maintain youth, people with disabilities, and low-income people in leadership positions. These goals should inform all decisions made with respect to staffing, recruitment, programming, policy, service provision, outreach and education.

Anti-Oppression Practices

We are committed to anti-oppression. This includes reflecting on our own privilege, being open to hearing that we have work to do to address internalized oppressive values or dynamics, redistributing power and leadership away from ourselves when it benefits the collective and the community, participating in ongoing training and learning throughout our lives to address these persistent dynamics, communicating clearly, and supporting other's communication.

Prisoner Advisory Committee

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project holds a strong belief that the people most affected by the systems of violence and oppression we fight are the best people to lead that fight. We also believe that social justice organizations must find ways to directly involve the members of our community who have been separated from us by the criminal injustice system. The Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) is one way to overcome the enormous state-created barriers to communication and political participation for the people who are most affected by the prison industrial complex. More info at

Collective Handbook

Our Collective Handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to our structure, and is made available to every potential collective member, so that they may have a full understanding of how we operate. This document, and the structure it represents, was put together with help from the folks at The May First Technology Collective and the Community Resource Exchange.

More information: Check out The Nonprofit Industrial Complex and Trans Resistance, an article written by SRLP Collective Members.


Collective Handbook 2009.pdf352.44 KB