By now I’m sure we’ve all seen the news about the Supreme Court ruling allowing the transgender military ban to take effect, a policy imposed on America by the trump administration via tweet in July 2017. This move by the court is only the latest in a long string of attacks on the transgender community by this bigoted and cruel administration that began with rescinding protections for transgender youth in schools, paving the way to states criminalizing the use of restrooms that correspond with one's gender identity, to prohibiting the CDC from even using the word transgender in their vocabulary, providing religious freedom liberties to healthcare providers, along with landlords, employers, and businesses, allowing them to refuse service to the transgender community on the grounds of moral objections, banning transgender people from military service (which has been tied up in lower courts until recently), and moving on to a redefinition of what sex/gender means (essentially eradicating being transgender out of existence), denied the right to adopt or foster children, and to top it all off, violence against the transgender community has risen steadily since trump took office. I could have some of these events out of chronological order, to be honest, everything happens so fast my head is still spinning, but the one thing that is certain is that trump and the GOP are out to annihilate me and my community from existence.
I remember having a heated conversation with my sister immediately after the election when she told me that she had voted for trump. My sister is nearly the only family member that didn’t disown me after I came out as transgender and has been a loving allie, but my heart was broken, I felt betrayed by her. She cited how trump waved a Pride flag and promised to be a friend to the LGBTQ community and I told her that she was foolish to believe that. I love my sister with all my heart, but I took this action personally, how could I not? I could see through this guy from day one, since he descended down the golden escalator and into our lives. I don’t understand how anyone can be so blind about him, he’s been extremely open about his hate from the beginning, attacking Mexicans the very day he announced his decision to run for office and showing absolute disrespect and outright disdain for women, foreigners, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, liberals and, yes, the LGBTQ community, but I dare say that he’s come after my community unlike any other, and I say that with a measure of confidence even knowing the horrible atrocities at our border where children have been kidnapped by our government and families detained and deported without their children, and I say that for this reason, mine is the only community that is being deliberately and systematically eradicated from existence.
It feels like open season on my community. Anyone who wants to take a shot at us has a free pass to do so with the blessings of the current leadership, and it’s having a damaging effect, taking its toll on transgender people not only financially and emotionally but physically as well. “I fear for safety. When he (trump) was elected I went and bought a gun. I’ve gained weight because of the stress.” a transgender friend from Birmingham told me recently. The stress and strain of it all is a bit much for many in the community, and rates of depression and suicides have risen, and in the HIV community rates of adherence to treatment have dropped, and of course these issues create many more health problems, in the long and short term.
In some ways I feel akin to the Jewish community before they were herded into concentration camps, or Native Americans before they were forced from their land. You might balk at these analogies, but the fact is, like these communities my community is being stripped of our rights, our safety, our autonomy, our dignity and our humanity. This is wrong, it was wrong then and it’s wrong now. We deserve the right to exist, to be ourselves, and to be treated with respect like anyone else, but like the populations aforementioned my community is in danger. In Iran the transgender community is publicly hanged, in Japan we’re being forcibly sterilized, and in other places we’re being stoned to death or beheaded, but none of that can happen here, right?? You can see the hate and intolerance rising around the world for my community, even here in the United States of America. It can happen anywhere at any time, all it takes is for good people to say nothing. Right now, at this moment in our history, we need you, we need your voice. Advocacy is raising your voice for those who don’t have one, or for those whose voice is denied and refused to be heard by those with privilege or who sit in power, so please, stand with us and for us when you hear bigotry in public, march by our side and amplify our voices together, call your congressman and raise your voice on our behalf, they may not be willing to listen to mine, I’m not human enough for them, and that’s how it begins.