Trump-Pence Trans Legal Attack
The Trump-Pence Administration’s most recent attempt to deny the rights of transgender people and roll back lifesaving protections is beyond reprehensible. It’s important to first recognize that the this use of “biological sex” to invalidate transgender people is itself contradicted by scientific evidence and cultures across the world. Sex and gender have never been, and will never be, restricted to a binary system the way the current administration is proposing. This is not just about our bodies or our identities. It is about regaining power.
The current administration is employing a pseudoscience of biological sex to transform their narrow worldview into a universal truth, to serve their political and financial interests, and align our government with a single religious tradition, twisted to make them seem moral. This attempted erasure of the complexity and nuance of our collective history is nothing more than a celebration of anti-intellectualism and a manifestation of conservative rage; rage at the recognition of our humanity, rage at our integration into social and political institutions, and rage at their inability to continue manipulating an entire country’s understanding of sex and gender with stereotypes that portray us as villains.
The increase in transgender visibility and acceptance has allowed us to forge meaningful relationships with our families and communities, to begin turning the tide against the legacy of exile that has for so long been a hallmark of transgender life, and to have a voice in mainstream spaces. We will not allow a lack of knowledge about transgender people or misunderstandings about our identities in the general American public to be weaponized against us. Our allies are increasingly standing with us on the front lines, and though formal legal equality will never end the violence and hatred our community faces, the law has provided crucial protections to some members of our community, enabling them to survive and contribute to the fight for equity and justice.
This attempt to redefine the law is borne from a deep understanding that transgender people are no longer a hypothetical intellectual exercise for the American people. We are known. We are valued members of our families and communities. We are fighting both within and outside the legal system to end the systemic poverty and violence to which this administration so enthusiastically contributes. In fact, it is this knowledge about our collective resistance that motivates the current attacks against us. This use of the law to proclaim the boundaries of sex and gender as a matter of scientific fact is a sinister tactic to overturn the progress we have made. It is also part of an overall strategy to define who is eligible for participation in public life in this country, with a clear end of stripping all minority groups of legal rights while ensuring we remain under the power of the law.
At this time, we must also remember that the transgender community is itself wonderfully diverse, and transgender people are being affected in substantial ways by coexisting attacks on minority groups which have transgender and gender diverse communities within them. The recent use of the law to disenfranchise Native Americans in North Dakota and African Americans in Georgia, and to tear immigrant families apart and commit genocide by placing immigrant children in American citizen families under the guise of adoption, is part of an overall legal strategy to redefine what it means to be American, and with that who is allowed to access the resources required to meet our basic needs. People who don’t fit the current administration’s attempted definition of sex and gender exist across all groups and societies within the United States and throughout history. We will not have our histories, nor our value, nor the richness of our lives, collapsed into oblivion.
By: Kai River Blevins, OutServe-SLDN Director of Education & Veteran Services