If you have been attentive to the current political/social climate, there is no way you can deny the current attack on the rights of transgender people as well as the increasing prejudice and discrimination towards this community. Currently, Arkansas is passing a law to ban doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to Transgender youth. To put it more simply, the ACLU states that “House Bill 1570 would prohibit healthcare professionals from providing or even referring transgender young people for medically necessary health care. It would bar any state funds for gender-affirming health care for transgender people under 18, and it would allow private insurers to refuse to cover gender-affirming care for people of any age.” Furthermore, if doctors do not abide by this bill, they risk being fired and subjected to lawsuits. It is a doctor’s job to provide medical care to anyone and everyone. What makes transgender people any different? Why are they not entitled to the same rights as cisgender people? If you do not know, cisgender is defined by Oxford dictionary as “denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex.”
My guess is that being transgender, for many, equates to being “unconventional,” demonstrating the continuation in America for discrimination against any group who is not straight, cisgender, and white. We saw it with the civil rights movement for Black people, and we are seeing it again now with the struggle for transgender rights. (Note that I am by no means saying the Civil Rights Movement is equivalent to the transgender rights movement. Although they have some overlapping ideologies, they are different movements).
The discrimination against Transgender people of color is even worse as they are subject to racial prejudice as well. As the HRC notes, “ it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color -- particularly Black transgender women -- and that the intersections of racism...transphobia….conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities.” But, by no means am I trying to divide the violence faced by Transgender POC with the violence faced by white POC. Both of these groups face struggles of access to restrooms, acceptance of their pronouns, surgery costs, violence, homelessness, inaccessible mental health care, uneducated medical professionals, and more(@impact on Instagram).
So, what can we do to help? Be an ally. Use your privilege. Stand with the Transgender community. How do we do this?
Ways to be an ally to the transgender community:
Educate yourself, your friends, and your family on what it means to be transgender, why it’s okay to be transgender, and why it’s important to treat this community with respect. Here is an amazing resource to do so- https://transequality.org/issues/resources/understanding-transgender-people-faq
Be mindful of pronouns and familiarize yourself with them. If you do not understand why people use different pronouns, take the time to educate yourself on the transgender community, or the LGBTQ community as a whole. But, you don’t need to understand the community to be mindful and respectful!
Remember that not all transgender people take the same path. They all follow different paths in embracing themselves, just as cisgender people do! As the National Board for Trans Equality states, “Some transgender people choose to medically transition, and some don’t. Some transgender people choose to legally change their names or ID documents, and some don’t. Some transgender people choose to change their appearance (like their clothing or hair), and some don’t. Likewise, some transgender people may want to do many of those things but are unable to because they can’t afford it or for safety reasons. A transgender person’s identity does not depend on what things they have or haven’t done to transition, and no two transgender people’s journeys are exactly alike.”
Take action and use your privilege! If you see a Transgender person being made fun of in person or over social media, use your voice and educate the perpetrator on why what they are doing is wrong. Support and defend against discrimination!
Here are some more amazing ways to be an ally to the Transgender community: https://transequality.org/issues/resources/supporting-the-transgender-people-in-your-life-a-guide-to-being-a-good-ally
The Transgender community is continuously under attack for reasons I cannot even fathom. Why should a group be discriminated against for not conforming to expectations stemming from “straight supremacy”? Who knows. In a time where their rights are being threatened at the legal level and they are being constantly threatened with violence, we must stand up and take action. Transgender people give so much to our community and world, we must show them our love and support. I’ve linked various resources above and there are so many online and all over social media. There is no reason for you to not be educated or not be an ally. Defend and support! Thank you for reading.
Note: I capitalized "transgender" several times throughout my post just to denote that this community is the topic of my post. Conventionally, it is not capitalized :)