Since President Donald Trump took office, his administration has launched a sweeping range of attacks on transgender people. Just in the last week, we learned about a draft memo promoting the idea of redefining gender to exclude trans people from civil rights laws, as well as a statement from the Department of Justice that trans workers aren’t protected from employment discrimination.
Given all of this, it is completely natural to feel scared or worried. The important thing to know is that we have ample opportunities to fight back.
Be a pro-equality voter.
We won’t have the opportunity to vote this hostile federal government out until 2020 — but right now, voters can make sure Congress and state officials do everything in their power to make sure trans people #WontBeErased.
By voting in members of Congress who support LGBTQ equality, we increase the chances of passing laws like the Equality Act, which would explicitly and definitively state that transgender people are protected from discrimination and render proposals like the leaked Trump administration memo ineffective.
Electing state and local officials who have a commitment to trans equality means that as we work to pass the Equality Act and challenge the administration in the courts, states and municipalities can work on protections of their own.
Massachusetts, in fact, has already passed state protections for trans people — but it is up for repeal on this year’s ballot. So for voters in the Bay State, another important way to show up for your trans friends and neighbors is to vote Yes on 3 to preserve the state’s trans-inclusive nondiscrimination law.
Advocate in your community.
People from Phoenix to Providence and everywhere in between have been holding their own #WontBeErased rallies, echoing the one national advocates held in front of the White House on Monday. If you’re interested in organizing your own, use the National Center for Transgender Equality’s rally kit to make sure you have everything you need!
If your town or state doesn’t already have protections for trans people, you can use the National Center for Transgender Equality’s state and local policy resources to lobby officials in your region.
You can also work to make your workplace, school, or other community space more inclusive, from helping to spread awareness of what it means to be trans to helping create formal trans-friendly policies.
Finally, you can find other ways to support the trans people in your community, whether that’s by finding local volunteer opportunities with an organization that provides services to trans people, or simply checking in with the trans people in your life.
Spread the word.
Join the likes of Amy Poehler, Ilana Glazer, and Abbi Jacobson and share a short video on social media to join the chorus of trans people and allies alike stating that trans people #WontBeErased.
If you’re a trans person, you can also share a photo of yourself on social media with a little bit of information about you, along with a declaration that you #WontBeErased.
As a bonus, you might want to get a “Trans People #WontBeErased” T-shirt to include in the photo!
Know your rights.
One of the most important things trans people and our loved ones can do is to be very clear on what our rights are. The Trump administration memo was a leaked draft that has had no legal effect yet. Even if the Trump administration did formally adopt the positions stated in the memo, it wouldn’t change the fact that they don’t get to make the law.
Of course, the memo has had an effect — it has certainly scared many transgender people and could embolden people who hold anti-trans views. Understanding your existing rights and continuing to exercise them is part of a strong defense against people who want to attack the civil rights of transgender people.
A number of federal laws prohibit discrimination based on sex in education, health care, employment, housing, and more. And dozens of federal court rulings have said these laws protect trans people.
Since the law is on our side, we should all continue to exercise our rights as fully as we possibly can. If people challenge your rights, NCTE’s Know Your Rights resources, as well as legal organizations, can help you.
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In the next month, we might all have the opportunity to tell the Trump administration that their proposals are dangerous and cruel: We are expecting two agencies to publish proposals that would affect laws preventing discrimination in health care and education.
When these proposals are published, each agency will have to open up public comment periods — and by law, officials have to read, analyze, and respond to all of our comments.
So make sure you’ve followed the National Center for Transgender Equality on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the NCTE Action Fund on Facebook and Twitter, to make sure you know as soon as new opportunities for action arise!