The events of the last week have been quite disturbing – a white man targeting African Americans at a grocery store, pipe bombs sent to top Democratic political figures, and the murder of 11 Jewish people as they were participating in a worship service.
In the midst of these horrific events, a letter circulating the White House was released which would significantly harm gender nonconforming and intersex Americans (trans*). The administration would like to define gender narrowly – as male or female – based on the gender assigned at birth. You can read the New York Times article here: ‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration.
This is just the most recent attack on one of the most vulnerable populations in our country. The National Center for Transgender Equality has a running list of the attacks on the rights and liberties of our trans* friends and family members: Trump’s record of action against transgender people.
The basis behind these actions is fear, ignorance, and lack of compassion. Contrary to Western cultural beliefs, gender is not a simple binary – it is neither simple nor a binary. It’s a hard topic to understand – it takes time and effort to learn about it and then to try to understand this learning. I get it; it’s not easy, especially for those of us in our middle to late years of life. But, because something is hard, doesn’t mean we should not try to learn. Our political leaders (ALL of them), should lead by example – learning, trying to understand, and then sharing their learnings.
The climate for transgender, non-binary, and intersex people is becoming more dangerous. This latest attack would essentially make it legal to discriminate against them. Our federal government will not stand behind them and protect them. They are a vulnerable population that is subject to far higher incidences of violence than the population at large (something I’ll cover in another post). By making gender male or female only, the Trump Administration is saying they don’t care.
As a mother, this makes me very afraid for my child and others in their community. As the deadly events of the last week show, hateful rhetoric can persuade some people to acts of violence, and I fear if this change is made, some will take it as a call to be judge, jury and executioner to those they believe are trans*.
What can we do to prevent this? There are a few things. Contact your senators and congressional representatives and let them know you do not support this change and want them to fight it. The trans* community is small and needs the help and support of everyone.
Let your representatives know you support the Equality Act (PFLAG Equality Act Information). This act would strengthen anti-discrimination for everyone (LGBTQI, people of color, women). The link provided gives a short explanation of the Act and also has a link to the actual bill so you can read it in its entirety.
And finally, vote for representatives who support equal rights and legal protections for trans* citizens. This is more important than any political philosophy or platform topic – it is a very real matter of health, safety, and life or death for members of our community.
I will do everything I can to ensure that my child is not erased.