By Meghan Aslin
Over the past few weeks, the transgender community has been targeted by those in power. Learn how to be an ally to a community that desperately needs our love and support.
Over the last two years, the LGBTQ+ community has been highly targeted by the presidential administration. In the previous six months alone, actions by the Trump administration have challenged the hard-earned rights of members of the queer and non cisgender community. Such severe movements like the ban on transgender military service representatives are just the start.
The newest proposition from the Trump administration is to pinpoint the definitional differences between the words “sex” and “gender.” In doing so, this would force those who wish to change their sex on government documents, such as driver’s licenses, marriage licenses, and birth certificates, to genetically prove their gender. Issuing this definition would exclude those who identify with a gender other than the one assigned at birth. In doing so, the administration is attempting to erase transgender identities from federal documents.
It may seem extreme to think that one word missing from a document could cause so much pain, but many out transgender people have gone through hardships to achieve equal status and treatment from others as well as peace within themselves over personal identities. To erase that would be detrimental.
In a 2017 Ben Shapiro rally, Shapiro, a conservative political columnist, brought up the suicide rates of transgender citizens in the United States, which currently sits at 41%. He openly stated, “According to the Anderson School of UCLA, it makes no difference, it’s a study that came out last year, it makes no difference… virtually no difference, statistically speaking, as to whether people recognize you as a transgender person or not … That has nothing to do with how society treats you.” To defend his words, he argued that he was bullied as a child for being too intelligent and being short. While it is true that lots of people are bullied, to argue that transgender people are not bullied for being recognized as transgender is ignorant to say the least. The percentage of transgender suicide is scarily high. Gender dysphoria, the feeling of having one’s psychological and emotional gender be the opposite of one’s biological sex, is a very real and hard condition that many people face. After going through extremely difficult emotional strain, these citizens do not deserve to have their rights stripped away. If our presidential administration is successful in its attempts, they would harm hundreds of thousands.
We all have faced hateful people, but no one deserves to feel less than because of their gender identity, race, religion, sexuality, or class. Because most readers do not have direct relationships to someone in governmental authority, it may seem impossible to help out. However, there are countless means for progress we all can pursue, regardless of personal identity. Anyone in our community can and should use inclusive pronouns, not assume anyone’s situation or identity, and vote if eligible. Although the midterm election has just been decided, with each and every election comes the opportunity to voice your support and love for the LGBTQ+ community through your vote. Most importantly, we must remember that support, respect, and empathy go a long way.
For more information about how to support transgender people, check out the information from the National Center for Transgender Equality.