During this historic election cycle, transgender voters, an often-overlooked voting bloc, have capitalized on the power of communication and networking via the Internet. While issues such as marriage equality have begun to gain airtime during debates issues pertinent to transgender voters, their families and friends, have not been as publicly discussed.
Helen Boyd, the renowned author of My Husband Betty and She’s Not the Man I Married, decided to correct this by asking transgender bloggers and allies to write about why voting matters to them. She asked online newspapers and respected blogs to host the voices of these transgender voters. Boyd, who is married to a transgender woman, wrote an article for the national LGBT blog The Bilerico Project, where she explained her motivations:
“The real reason [my partner and I] participated was to see the trans community go from being politically invisible to politically viable.”
In a separate post at the feminist site Feministing, Boyd mentioned prominent transgender activists who had joined her in building up the transgender voting presence. These activists include Kate Bornstein, the author of several books on gender including My Gender Workbook, and Andrea James, an actress and voice coach recently featured in the reality TV show Transamerican Love Story and the feature film, TransAmerica.
Other participants included Monica Roberts, a prominent African American leader, Jillian Weiss, a legal expert and consultant, and Autumn Sandeen, former secretary of the Transgender Americans Veterans Association.
News of the transgender online voting movement reached publications as well, including the Oregon LGBT newspaper Just Out. A reporter for the newspaper noted that transgender bloggers are “a trend on the blogosphere.”
Boyd’s efforts didn’t escape the campaigns either, with the Obama campaign issuing a statement congratulating the individuals for the work they did to promote transgender awareness. From the website:
“Obama Pride is honored by the enthusiastic support of so many in the transgender community and we congratulate all the participants…for their huge success!”
With the success these articles had in reaching multiple communities, transgender voters were able to address the multiple issues that concern them, and show their power as a political voting bloc. Through this visibility candidates across the country will hopefully realize the vital role the transgender community plays in their elections.