How you can join the fight against anti-trans policies from 2017 for #TransWeek

 

From the fight in Texas over multiple bills aimed at barring transgender people from using public restrooms, to President Trump’s transgender military ban seeking to purge qualified service members from serving their country, 2017 has seen an onslaught of attacks against the transgender community.

These unconscionable attacks are dangerous and must be put to an end.

Many of these measures are based on myths and lies that stoke the anti-trans fear that fuels the high rates of poverty, discrimination, violence and incarceration that disproportionately affect femmes and trans women of color.

In honor of #TransWeek, learn more about these policies battles from 2017 and what you can do help counter this cruel and dangerous agenda.
 

Transgender Military Ban

Trans servicemembers have bravely served our country for decades, but have only recently been allowed to be their authentic selves in uniform after the President Obama lifted a ban on trans soldiers serving openly in the military in 2016. Then, in late August, President Trump officially ordered an end to transgender service members serving openly with no rational bases, effectively announcing a purge of qualified military personnel. In an attempt to bolster this anti-trans position, the White House cited statistics from anti-LGBTQ hate groups which spread lies about medically necessary trans healthcare.

But their alternative facts just do not add up.

The persecution of trans military personnel, who have met the same rigorous standards as their cisgender peers, is about pushing the myth that the transgender community is unfit and mentally ill. Currently, it is estimated there are 15,000 transgender Americans serving in the United States military and the discriminatory ban is opposed by the majority of people in all 50 states.

The U.S. military’s success is built on diversity and it is important to tell the stories of active duty trans servicemembers and veterans in order to combat this anti-trans agenda. More from retired Army veteran, Laila Ireland.


This discriminatory ban is now in the court system where it is being challenged in three separate court cases. At the end of October the D.C. Federal District court issues a preliminary injunction to prevent the ban from going into effect during the time it takes to hear and decide the case Doe V. Trump, a challenge to Trump policy brought forward by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

This is a vital legal fight that needs the support of all LGBTQ community members and allies. We need to stop this ban that would have sweeping ramifications for the protection and support of the transgender community nationwide.

How you can help fight back!

  • Sign GLAAD’s petition demanding the federal government honor and include trans service members.
  • Support trans-led military organizations such as SPART*A Pride and amply the stories of active transgender military members and veterans.
  • Send a message of love and support directly to active duty trans servicemembers.
     

School & Workplace Non-Discrimination Protections

Shortly after taking office, the Trump Administration rescinded the Obama administration’s guidance to schools that outlined how to protect trans students under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in public education.

Then, just last month, the Justice Department reversed a policy that provided non-discrimination protections for transgender people in the workplace under Title VII.

For the transgender community, the workplace can often be a hostile environment, making nondiscrimination protections a crucial resource. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Report, 30% of respondents who had a job reported being fired, denied a promotion, or experiencing some other form of mistreatment in the workplace due to their gender identity or expression, and nearly one third report living in poverty, compared to 14% in the United States population as a whole.

While both Title IX and Title VII still stand as law, these policy reversals are in direct response to advances in case law where discrimination against someone on the basis of sex was interpreted to include protections for transgender people. Now, Trump and Sessions are working to undermine these advances and manipulate the courts to write an anti-trans interpretation of sex discrimination into law, blocking the trans community from having standing under the language of sex discrimination.

This agenda being pushed by the White House has real-life consequences beyond courtroom battles. It bolsters the argument that trans people are somehow less than or abnormal, and do not deserve legal protections. It also increases the likelihood of both individual and institutional violence against trans people in their schools and workplaces. 

Here's more on the real-world ramifications of these policies and self-care advice from GLAAD campus ambassador, Eva Reign Thomas.


How you can help fight back!

  • Pressure your school or your current workplace to adopt a trans-inclusive non-discrimination policy. Here are model policies for the workplace and for schools.
  • At the beginning of November, 44 Senators sent a letter urging the Justice Department to reinstate the interpretations of Title VII protections that prohibit anti-trans discrimination. Join them in calling on Jeff Sessions to reinstate this policy!
    -- Department of Justice Comment Line: 202-353-1555
  • Pay close attention to the anti-LGBTQ judicial nominees that the Trump administration is pushing through the Senate and pressure your Senators to reject them. Trump’s discriminatory policies are being challenged in the courts and his is trying to change the makeup of the bench to solidify his anti-trans interpretations of the law.
     

So-called “Bathroom Bills”

This year, sixteen states considered legislation to deny transgender people from accessing restrooms and other public accommodations that correspond with their gender identity.

Sixteen states.

While none of these bills passed this year,  this battle is not going away anytime soon. So far there are four states, Kansas, Minnesota, South Carolina and Tennessee which have legislation on this issue carrying over into the 2018 session, as well as anti-trans ballot initiatives in Massachusetts, Montana, and the city of Anchorage, Alaska.

These so-called “bathroom bills” do not make anyone safer, but they do actively make things more dangerous for the transgender community who just want to use public restrooms without fear for their safety or security. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Report, one in eight trans people reported being verbally harassed, physically attacked, or sexually assaulted while accessing a bathroom in the past year, with one-quarter saying they were questioned or challenged in restrooms.

Lou Weaver, Transgender Programs Coordinator at Equality Texas, was one of the activists on the ground who worked to defeat three different versions of these anti-trans bills in the Texas legislature this session.


The debates around these types of bills do not happen in a void, they directly stoke violence and harassment against the trans community by pushing the message that non-cisgender identities are inherently fraudulent.

How you can help fight back!

  • Your voice has a great impact at the local level! Reach out to your school board and your local board of supervisors or city council that advocate for trans-inclusive protections.
  • Currently, the ACLU of Montana and Fair Anchorage are in full-scale campaigns to undermine these anti-trans ballot initiatives. Support their efforts!
  • One of the best ways to combat these agenda is to speak out and make sure that people understand the real threat of this legislation. Read up on GLAAD’s “Debunking the ‘Bathroom Bill’ Myth” media guide for more about combating these lies and holding the press accountable for how they frame this issue.
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