Earlier this week media outlets reported on a memo that shows that the federal government is considering steps to legally define sex in a very narrow way in an attempt to deny the existence of transgender people. Let's be clear. Transgender people exist. Transgender people have always existed. This is not a topic to be debated.
I, along with many others who have spoken up on social media, am outraged and saddened at this most recent attempt to deny the existence and rights of transgender, non-binary and gender-nonconforming (GNC) people. I know that many of you who identify as trans, non-binary or GNC are scared. I know that many of you who have children or other loved ones who are trans are scared and, perhaps, wondering how to respond or what to say to your loved ones. Keep reading for some resources that may help.
I'll share just a few words from a love letter to the trans community I wrote after the passage of HB2 that feel just as relevant today: "In case you have been doubting it, hear this and take it into your bones: You are beautiful. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone. If you need support, there are people here to help. Show us where you’re afraid to go, and we’ll go with you."
If you are trans, non-binary or GNC, please know that whatever you are feeling right now is valid, and you don't have to feel it alone. There are transgender people in every corner of the world and there always have been. If you are feeling alone and want to talk to someone, please reach out. If you aren't able to find someone close to you, consider reaching out to TransLifeline (1-877-565-8860), a hotline run by and for transgender people, or TrevorLifeline, a crisis intervention phone service for LGBTQ youth (call 1-866-488-7386 or text 678678).
If you identify as cisgender (aka not transgender), now is the time to show up for our trans loved ones. If you have trans people in your life, please reach out to them to tell them that you care about them. Ask them how you can show up for them and then follow through. It can take a huge amount of energy to even function when you are scared and feeling threatened, so find out what you can do to help.
If you are not in relationship with trans people, you can still show your support. Educate yourself about this memo and the oppressive nature of the gender binary and biological essentialism and then share what you learn with your friends. Make sure that people in your circle of influence know that you support trans people and their right to exist free from discrimination.
Showing our love to trans people is important. Helping trans people and the transgender community build power is even more important to helping trans people achieve safety and liberation. One way for cisgender people to contribute is donate resources to transgender people and transgender-led organizations.
Here are some organizations to consider:
Tranzmission (local to Asheville)
We need each other. We need each other to survive. We need each other to heal. If you have space to offer someone who is scared or hurting a smile, a hug, or a word of support, please offer it. If you are in need of a smile, a hug, or a word of support, please reach out. You belong in this world and your existence cannot be erased.