Transgender Americans Awoke to Find Ourselves on the Cusp of Eradication
The new policies to remove all protections, recognition and inclusion in the 1964 Civil Rights act has been discreetly being drafted since February.
I wish I could say with any confidence that I never expected this, but it would require that I dismiss two years of a war waged on transgender people. From late night tweets declaring a ban on transgender service members to the banning of the very word “Transgender” in any missives from the Center for Disease Control to the White House to the founding of the US Department of Human Services new Religious Freedom and New Conscience Division, I knew these were mere omens of much darker things to come.
It feels impossible. I said to myself those words. “That will never happen.” Other people reinforced that. “Don’t worry, that will never happen.” But, as religious radicals and a venomously bigoted president took control of every branch of government, it became increasingly difficult to console myself simply by turning a blind eye to the rapidly developing reality.
All this preceding the blatant perversion of American Democracy by Republicans so hellbent on maintaining power that they’ve reduced themselves to suppressing minority votes, mass purging registrations, closing voting polls in majority black or latinx districts and moving them miles away from any access to public transport in order to obstruct their path to the polls. This hasn’t been done quietly, nor has it been done with a shred of remorse. Why? Because those overseeing these corrupted midterm elections are the same people running for seats of power. These politicians that are aggressively skewering the results are the same men that our President is endorsing- even when, during a time not so long ago, some were bitter enemies that he deemed liars and frauds. Now, he’s their greatest ally. Right, “Lyin’ Ted?”
Some might say that it’s just the political game. Others, like myself, perceive it as a gaslighting of Americans. A masterful manipulation in which a power hungry elite align with each other for the sole purpose of protecting themselves from accountability and to preserve a narrow world view.
A world view in which people like me have no place. That fact has become increasingly evident throughout the duration of Donald Trump’s presidency. Both the President and Vice President, the deeply religious Mike Pence, have been the keynote speakers at the hate group rally Value Voters Summit which hosts hellfire and brimstone preachers who have proposed criminalizing homosexuality and even setting gays on fire as they distributed hateful propaganda.
So, was I surprised to wake up to the alarming memo leaked to the New York Times that detailed with great precision the argument to excise transgender people from society by making us vulnerable to greater threats of violence, religious persecution, acts of discrimination and attempting to legitimize the stripping of our basic civil rights?
No. I wasn’t. I hoped beyond all hopes that this day would never come and perhaps I allowed myself to be lulled into a sense of complacency by the comforting words repeated over and over; “That will never happen here.”
Maybe it’s my fault for allowing myself to believe that this country was, in the greater scope of things, a better place today than had been demonstrated by its past of oppression and savagery toward minorities. I was wrong.
I am disturbed by the calculated organization of this plan to viciously attack my community, already one of the most vulnerable to societal persecution and threats to our safety. It feels like we’ve been locked in a war with Trump and his thugs in suits who are reckless wielding their authority over our fate since he was elected. I’m tired. I believe we’re all tired. I am not sorry to admit that for the first time, today, I wept upon reading these words taken from the memos shared between the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Justice.
The argument proposed by religious evangelicals that have taken the government hostage is that we, as Transgender Americans, have had our rights and dignities allowed us forced upon an resistant body of authority by a former, liberal president. These rights and equalities, the protections given to our community were seemingly done so begrudgingly and now the new administration is eager to rescind them. Using the excuse, in spite of science proving otherwise, that there are only 2 sexes, male and female, and that they are “Unchangeable and determined by the genitals a person was born with.”
Where does this leave us? Those of us who by means of our very existence indicate otherwise? We’ll be dubbed mentally ill again. We’ll be castaway in our own nation. We’ll be forced to revise any amended birth certificates or drivers licenses that represent our gender identity in favor of identifying our genital make-up. If we do not or cannot conform to the new normal, we will be subject to great risks to our job security. Our ability to thrive as individuals will be forever compromised. As fundamental Christianity tightens it’s grasp on laws and policies emphasizing Religious Freedoms over social progress we will fall victim to further incidents of violence, possibly even murder by those who claim it was in the name of their God- and they will pay no consequence citing religious freedom. All this delivered with the Presidential stamp of approval.
Justice will no longer serve us. A trans person before a bias court will find themselves thrown into prisons according to their genital, despite the evident danger to their person. Ultimately, we will be prey for the predators who hold high seats in America. We can never go back from this.
It is difficult to hear people minimize our plight by offering up easy words and flippant pacification. Where once it was; “It will never happen here” and then it did, now it is, “Everything will be fine.” And “Don’t be afraid.” Words quite easily falling from the lips of those without a knife held to the thinning tether of their freedom. In fairness, it must be hard for those who do not experience this resistance and fall comfortably between this administrations goal posts to appear grossly disaffected by the potential consequences we now face. I’ve spent the day listening to CIS people telling me how to feel and why it looks worse than it will be.
How I feel is valid and justified. I have been fighting this moment for two years and yet, even still, here I am.
Here we are. What frightens me the most is my inability to predict where we are going now. What is the next blindsiding announcement I’ll wake up to in this frightening new world where everything that was once good is now gone. Where fear and anxiety is my own new normal. How does one reconcile teetering on the cusp of absolute erasure?
Pushing back against the tiding feelings of hopelessness and inevitable defeat is not a battle I fight alone as I know many others are dealing with the same unnerving uncertainties we face. So, I did what I do. The only thing I can do.
I know all to intimately the bleak place within that days like today can thrust us into. The sheer suddenness of it, the shock over the coordinated effort privately composed behind closed doors for nearly a year to disenfranchise us further, it causes us grave emotional damage.
All I could think to myself as I slowly processed this information was this; “I’m going to see countless trans men and women taking their own lives, even more so than we do already, afraid this very moment is an indicator of a terrifying future.” That is my greatest fear of all- that even one of us will see no value in their tomorrow. With that weighing on me, I am compelled to share this:
Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime to speak to a certified counselor.
The Trevor Project has a 24/7 hotline available to anyone
Trans Lifeline 877–565–8860 is available to counsel any Trans+ person who needs to talk.