A Call to Action For Allies of Transgender People
Jennifer Angelina Petro
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
― Elie Wiesel
Violence against transgender people and other queer people, especially queer people of color, is up ever since the terroristic Trump regime took office, and will only increase if the latest political assault on trans people goes through.
Trump wants to legally define gender based solely on body parts. This would effectively erase transgender, intersex, and other nonbinary people out of existence.
Of course, we’ll still be here—we’ve always been here, and always will be.
What will happen though is that any and all legal protections will be removed (not that we’ve had many of them to begin with). It will be “legal,” to deny transgender people healthcare, insurance, employment rights, and housing rights.
It will also give the haters even more license to commit hate crimes on people like me. Why shouldn’t they if we don’t exist—if we don’t matter in the eyes of the federal government? We shouldn’t they if we’re not going to be counted on the U.S. Census?
This amounts to genocide. Yes, it’s a strong word. Genocide means: “the deliberate killing of a large group of people.” Its synonyms include: “mass murder, mass homicide.”
Will there actually be a mass killing of transgender people? I hope not, of course. However, if one factors in an increase in the undocumented and documented murders of trans people, the documented and undocumented lives of young trans people lost to suicide as a result of constant—federally condoned violence and bullying, if one factors in the transgender people who will die as a result of lack of health care, or who will die on the streets due to homelessness, then the numbers of dead transgender people could become staggering (and yes—one is too many). These atrocities will all worsen if the federal government decrees that we don’t exist.
What frightens me the most are the terrible consequences that young trans people will suffer. The kids. The ones growing up into a future where they will have no federal government protections. Their futures are in jeopardy even more than they are now.
It’s time allies.
It’s time to rise up and stand with transgender people and all other LGBTQIA people.
You might be thinking: There are a lot of other kinds of people to stand up for—lots of causes to fight for, and you’re right. Consider this though:
The next step after erasing trans people will be to erase people based on their sexual orientation, religion, race, political party, health issue, people on birth control, people who’ve had abortions, people who are differently abled, people who are different than the white and the rich, the educated and male. What will it do to the #MeToo Movement? A movement already scoffed at by many. Should sexual assault victims have human rights? Should children?
There was a time I would have thought these things would never, ever be possible.
They are though. They are. It has already begun.
Stand with me. Stand with us. This affects everyone.
What does it look like to stand with trans people?
-Write to your senators and local politicians.
-March with us.
-Educate your family and friends about us—risk being hated for what you believe.
-Add pro-trans FB profile frames on your profile pictures and/or your FB banners.
-Spread the word across all social media that trans rights are human rights.
-Stand for us in your places of worship and schools.
-Buy “Trans Rights Are Human Rights” shirts and wear them proudly.
-Hug us openly.
-Give to TransLifeLine, the Trevor Project, GLSEN, and other LGTBQIA services, like the ones offered at Love in Action UCC. and The Center for Transgender Equality, The Human Rights Campaign.
-Adopt trans kids.
-Open your homes to homeless trans people.
-Go to the homeless and bring them food, water, blankets, medicine.
-Go to public restrooms with us.
-Invite LGBTQIA people to holiday dinners.
-And much more.
It is one thing to tell a trans person you love and accept and stand with them. It is another thing to take public action steps to demonstrate that love and acceptance.
And yeah, I get it. Some of you are afraid of what others will say. Some of you might be afraid for your safety if you openly fight for trans rights. You might fear for your jobs, for your membership in places of worship, for what your friends and relatives might say. I get it. On a daily basis, believe me, I get it.
Anyone who voted for Trump is complicit in the violence and deaths that will increase as a result of transgender people being erased in the eyes of the federal government. So are those who remain silent in the face of such abuse of power. If you are too afraid to stand up to any of your friends and relatives who support Trump for my sake and/or the sake of an entire group of people, then where does that put you in relationship with those friends and relatives? Where does it put you in relationship with me? With yourself? With your faith?
If the nation only hears the voices of the haters, then that’s all Trump and his regime will hear–that’s all the haters will hear–it’s all the people who choose to do nothing will hear–and so the hate and violence towards people like me goes on. If the nation only sees the public actions of the haters and not the public actions of people in support of trans-rights, then that’s all Trump and his regime will see–that’s all the haters will see. It’s all the people who choose to do nothing will see, and thus the hate and violence towards people like me goes on.
No. This isn’t about guilt–at least not about unhealthy guilt–like the shame that erases oneself. A certain kind of guilt can be healthy. If you feel guilty about something you did or didn’t do and knew you shouldn’t have done that thing or should have done that thing–then feeling guilty can be healthy. Shows you have a conscience. So, no. I am not trying to shame you–just help motivate you to rise up and show your support in public ways.
This is a plea.
This is a begging for something that should never have to be begged for.
Tired of the fear I feel on a daily basis. Will the place I’m going to be safe? Will I be assaulted? Will I be safe in a public restroom? Will I live to see my grandchildren or be cut down because of who I am, and not what I choose to be?
I’m tired. And I will keep fighting.
No. This isn’t about guilt if you can’t fight, or need a break from fighting.
It’s a charge. Fight if you can. Not just on social media, but with your lives.
Stand with transgender people, intersex people, nonbinary people—all LGBTQIA people.
Stand with us openly, actively.
Lives are at stake.
Freedom is at stake.
The fate of the future for countless young people is at stake.
We need you. I need you.
All donations from this post go to TransLifeLine.