How To Support Transgender People In The Wake Of The Trump Administration’s Memo
On Oct. 21, The New York Times published a report detailing a memo from the Trump administration that said the Department of Health and Human Services is considering new Title IX guidelines that would essentially erase federal recognition of transgender and nonbinary gender identities. According to The New York Times, the Trump administration is planning to redefine biological sex under Title IX, stating that "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."
"The false and oppressive equating of sex assigned at birth to gender fundamentally undermines the purpose of Title IX," Jess Davidson, End Rape on Campus Interim Executive Director, said in a statement emailed to Bustle. "Erasing an entire group of people from Title IX implementation is a clear attack on their civil rights."
Trans folks in this country shouldn't constantly have to defend their right to exist, but this administration's actions give the LGBTQ community and its allies little choice. “Every time this administration gets the opportunity they attack the most vulnerable people in our community and we’re not going to take it anymore,” Tanya Walker of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group said at a NYC rally in opposition of the memo, according to a statement from activist group Voices4. There are a lot of ways, however, that you can support transgender people in the wake of the Trump administration's memo.
Here are just 11 actionable ways you can support the transgender community today:
1. Get To The Polls And Vote
Midterm elections are on Nov. 6, and there are people on your ballot who could affect transgender rights not just on a national level, but also on local and state levels, says LGBT Nation. Do your research, make a voting plan, and make sure everyone around you has a plan to vote, too.
2. Raise Heck on Yes On 3 in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is reportedly facing a first-of-its-kind effort to repeal a transgender rights law that says individuals can use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, according to the Boston Globe. Even if you don't live in Massachusetts, you can raise awareness on social media that this is happening to get Massachusetts voters to vote Yes On 3 on Nov. 6 to keep these rights in place. You'll also be sending a message that this kind of action is not welcome — not in Massachusetts, or anywhere else in America.
3. Support Transgender Candidates
The more transgender representation there is in government, the less America will see violations against the rights of the transgender community. According to Reuters, transgender candidates are running for political offices in unprecedented numbers this year, so if there's a candidate on your ballot, support them in any way you can.
4. Contribute to Transgender-Led Activist Groups
According to Voices4, when national organizations aren't led by transgender or nonbinary people, they don't necessarily prioritize their needs. That's why it's so critical to contribute your time or money to transgender-led groups so they have the resources they need. GLAAD has a list of transgender advocacy groups to get you started.
5. Fight The Passage Of Discriminatory Laws
Voting is one way to keep laws that discriminate against transgender people from passing, but the National Center for Transgender Equality says you can also call your elected officials, participate in letter-writing campaigns, or collect signatures for ballot measure campaigns. The NCTE also notes that if your elected official supports legislation that supports transgender rights, make sure you take the time to thank them.
6. Donate to Bailout Funds
According to Voices4, much of the discrimination transgender people face, especially transgender people of color, is a high level of incarceration. You can donate to one of the many bailout funds to support those who've faced incarceration, including the Tranzmission Prison Project, TGI Justice, and Lambda Legal's Transgender Immigrant Resources.
7. Formally Comment On Proposed Federal Regulations
Voices4 says that many proposed changes to federal regulations like the one that just leaked in the Trump memo typically need to go through a "notice and comment" period. Voices4 recommends following organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union or the Transgender Law Center for updates on when you can weigh in on the proposed changes. LGBTQ advocacy groups can then use your comments in court to argue that the measures are discriminatory.
8. Challenge Transphobia Whenever You See It
According to the Indy100, cisgender people have a responsibility to challenge transphobia, whether online or in public spaces, especially in spaces where trans folks might not be present. If you hear a friend or family member misgender someone, make a transphobic joke, or otherwise create a transphobic environment, call them on it.
9. Support Transgender Journalists
A lot of information about transgender issues is written by cisgender journalists, which can be useful information, but also has a higher potential of missing nuance about the experience of being transgender. Support transgender and nonbinary journalists whenever possible by following them, retweeting them, and sharing their articles, Voices4 says, because they'll write about these issues from a more informed standpoint.
10. Start Conversations With Friends And Family
Educate other cisgender people who don't understand the idea that gender and sex are wholly different. Make sure you're getting your information from reputable sources, including articles and videos by actual transgender people.
11. Speak Out In Support Of Transgender Rights — And Listen To Trans Folks Fighting The Fight
Let the nation know it's wrong to discriminate against people based on any aspect of their identities. Be vocal. Be loud. But also, remember to sit back when transgender folks are talking about their experiences. Amplify their words, whether online, at a protest, or in your conversations. But let them speak, and really listen. That is one of the best ways you can stand with trans folks who have been fighting for these rights since the beginning.
There's no mincing words: the Trump administration's memo is scary. But there are ways you can take action to show the current administration that you will not let them strip away the rights of any human being.