This article was going to be one of the happier ones. I planned to return after a five-month absence with the news that I’d started on estrogen patches and was finally moving forward with my medical transition after a long road getting there.
Then something far more important for our community happened. The tangerine whinge currently occupying The White House decided to remove federal protections for trans kids in public schools. Citing it as an issue that should be decided on a state by state basis rather than dictated by the government, Trump made the lives of trans children worse overnight.
These kids, who are already being bullied and discriminated against on a daily basis now have no legal standing when it comes to using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. It gives the adults in their lives free reign to discriminate on the unfounded myth that trans people are faking being transgender so that they can gain access to the bathroom facilities of the opposite gender to harass them. Never mind the fact that this paints trans people as manipulative sexual predators, it’s an idea that seeks to strip all humanity from trans people to justify the hatred and bigotry of people who have likely never met nor know that much about the lives of our community.
As for the myth itself, it doesn’t help the cause of the bigots that none of them can ever seem to cite a single case where something like this has happened: https://twitter.com/LeanneNaramore/status/834834972464803845
Even more so, we know that attempts to legislate this and please everyone at the same time are failing when the 2015 US trans survey found that 31% of trans students try to avoid eating and drinking to not use these public bathrooms in the first place.
Of course though, as with any removal of legislation against a social minority, this is never just about the bathrooms or whatever issue is laser focused on to hide the fact that this social minority isn’t respected by society in the first place. In the wise words of Laverne Cox, this is about the rights of trans folks “to exist in public spaces”. As we saw with legislation like the bathroom bills introduced in the US last year, these laws intend to not only prohibit trans kids from accessing these bathrooms but trans adults too. The simple fact of the matter is that the lawmakers behind these bills do not want trans people to exist. If they could have their way, our access to public services would be extremely limited to the point of being unsustainable. In short, using legislation to force trans people back into the closet or worse, never come out at all. In a time where we seemed to be reaching a tipping point of sorts, it’s disheartening to see this retreat into uncharted territory.
So, what can we do to combat this situation? In one word: resist. Donate to charities such as the National Center for Transgender Equality, Sylvia Rivera Law Project and the Trans Lifeline so that they can continue to provide support and guidance for trans people across the US. Attend any local rallies being organised and make your voice heard. Take to social media and encourage others to share messages of support and anger at the administration for doing this. Furthermore, tweet local legislators and get them to use their influence to spread that message even further. Now is the time where we must vocal in our dissatisfaction because if we can keep this going, change will come. We’ve seen it happen with Trump’s failed immigration policy and we can make it happen too. In order to win, we must be the very thing they don’t want: to be visible and loud!