Trans Against Trump: “WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE”

By Mary Cumpston|November 6, 2018Queer Resources, Top Stories, Transfolk|

On October 21st, the Trump Administration issued a terrifying threat to the Trans community declaring, according to the New York Times, “the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate as originally issued shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”  This proposal to neglect to recognize trans and gender-nonconforming people would be in violation of Title IX which states that discrimination against individuals based on sex or gender in regards to work and human rights is against federal law.

If the Trump Administration’s proposal to erase trans people becomes legitimized, how would this affect the Trans community? Jobs, rent, and housing could be denied to them for one thing. But the biggest concern of many trans Portlanders is healthcare.

“I’m on hormones,” shares PCC student, Rory. “If trans people are delegitimized, I don’t know what that would mean for me or any trans person.”

Not only could this affect trans individuals’ access to important things like HRT, testosterone, and corrective surgery, but if such discrimination is legalized, even access to basic healthcare needs could be restricted.

Another terrifying effect this would have on the trans community is identification. It is a long and difficult process for trans and gender people to correct their gender on official documents such as passports, IDs, driver’s licenses, and birth certificates. Correcting their dead names is another hard process which Trump would like to make impossible.

Local trans woman, Marnie says: “I’ll definitely lose my passport if Trump gets his way. It was already denied to me five times. It has my correct gender now.”

Another terrifying aspect of Trump’s proposed policy is the amplified discrimination that trans people would face, which could force individuals to live in a state of constant fear. A local trans woman who preferred to remain anonymous speaks to this,

“I’m scared to walk alone and scared I’ll be killed while I’m out.” She also shared the everyday struggles of making decisions like deciding which bathroom to go into- struggles to which Cis people—struggles to which Cis people are privileged to remain numb to.

An agender Portlander, Sy, elaborated on this subject, saying “I’ve already had grown women harass my trans employees coming out of the family bathroom! [This law] would affect my trans employees deeply.”

Safe travel is also something Cis people take for granted that trans people struggle with. Trump’s proposed policy would certainly deprive trans and agender people of international travel because their passports would not have their correct genders. Furthermore, travel even within the United States is a far more dangerous thing for trans people than it is for Cis people.

“A lot of parts of the U.S. don’t feel comfortable to me,” says Rory. “Even parts of Portland! I’m at risk in this current administration and social environment.” She’s certain the level of discrimination she and her trans siblings face will worsen if Trump gets his way. “When a person’s identity is deemed wrong, violence comes shortly after.”

One silver lining to this dark cloud is the outstanding number of resources available to trans people in Portland. PCC’s own Queer Resource Center has trans-specific programs and is a safe environment for trans and gender-nonconforming students to hang out in. This is also true of Brave Space here in Portland, another safe environment that provides Trans people with therapy groups, help planning surgeries, and other helpful resources. There are always options like the Trans Lifeline too, which was created by Trans people for Trans people- call and chat with a Trans representative about whatever you’re going through! The National Center of Transgender Equality is an online program that assists Trans people in correcting the gender on their birth certificates, IDs, and passports. And for Trans People of Color, there are resources such as Antifa, the National Queer and Trans Therapist of Color Network, and

Portland’s own Los Quertos for Trans POC, providing a sense of community and helpful resources to the Trans POC community.

CIS allies should always be an additional resource too. CIS people can help the trans community right now with donations.

“Contribute directly to trans people who need it- especially trans people of color,” advises Marnie. “Most trans people are in a consistent financial crisis.”

Rory specifically recommends donating to the GoFundMe campaigns of trans and non binary individuals. Trans people need money for more than just surgery and hormones, she says, “but also for healthcare, rent and housing!”

There’s plenty of ways CIS allies without much money to spare can assist the trans community, too. Listening to and defending your trans friends and family is an easy way to show your support, as is walking or driving them to their destinations to assure their safety, or offering them meals or shelter if they are experiencing particular financial issues or don’t have a safe place to stay.  A small thing CIS people can do to help trans women specifically is donating spare makeup and clothes. But the most important and effective way in which CIS allies can support the trans community is by standing up for them and speaking loudly about what is right.
“CIS people need to get real about how they see trans people and study up on who they’re supporting,” encourages Rory.
Sy adds to this statement, saying “it’s CIS people’s responsibility to educate themselves and others. Learn how to be more inclusive in your language, too!” If you hear a CIS person mis-gender a trans individual or call them by their dead name, say something!
“Speak up for us,” says an anonymous trans woman. “Our voice doesn’t get carried as loudly as other groups of people.”

Marie would also like CIS people to know: “your trans friends are looking at you to see how loud you get about this.This is our darkest hour. We don’t matter alone.”

Despite the Trump Administration’s threats to disregard trans people by their correct genders, they are not so easily erasable and will continue to exist and be who they are with or without Trump’s approval.

“Gender is not made by genitals and never has been,” says Sy. “We have been here across continents forever.”

“Our rights were fought for, they were never granted,” adds Rory. “The only way from here is to keep fighting like the generations before us. We have a spiritual claim to who we are.”

“To be closeted was to not be myself. When I came out, I started valuing myself and finding loving friendships and relationships,” says Marnie. She too plans to fight for trans people and their rights regardless of Trumps’ threats of oppression. “We will get through this how we get through everything. We’ll keep being ourselves and try to keep normalizing our lives and existences.”

No matter what happens under Trump’s power, or what anyone thinks, the trans community vows to band together and remain strong, to continue the battle for the rights they deserve, the ones their trans ancestors have worked tirelessly for over the centuries, that they will continue to protect.

“Regardless of what you think,” says Sy, “we’re here, we’ve been here, and we aren’t going anywhere.”

Trans people will not be erased.

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