Look What Slipped By The News Media!

Over the past month I have become frightened, first by the increasingly racially-tinged and divisive rhetoric coming from the White House, and then by a decision made by the Justice Department last Wednesday.

With Trump’s pronouncements coming at a dizzying pace, many quickly forgot that a few Sundays ago the New York Times reported that the current administration was preparing to pronounce that gender is determined at birth, and all accommodations for transgender people should be ended. Last Wednesday the threat became a reality when  the Justice Department took the first step, informing its employees they were no longer to protect the rights of transgender people on issues related to housing and employment.

That news got lost in the pre-election madness.  The Justice Department’s instruction was not just one more crazy idea tossed to the electorate by an unhinged president. It was the first step of a calculated decision to eradicate the transgender population, perpetrated by the Justice Department of the United States of America.

Now, let’s suppose the Robert Mueller investigation does find collusion or obstruction of justice, and Donald Trump is impeached and convicted.  That would not change the discourse on transgender people. Mike Pence is even more dangerous to the LGBTQ population than Donald Trump.  He is every bit as theologically conservative and morally self-righteous as Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  He would not hesitate to issue executive order after executive order to deny the basic civil rights of transgender people.

I am ashamed about how little I cared about civil rights before I transitioned.  I had all of the “right positions,” but outside of voting, I didn’t do much. I did not write my Congressmen or Senators.  I did not participate in demonstrations.  I did not testify against bills designed to limit civil rights. I was comfortable.  Now I know better.

Regardless of how today’s election turns out, I will remain frightened.  And as bad as it is for me, it is ten times worse for transgender women of color and transgender children, whose vulnerability is exponentially greater than mine.

Eight-four percent of evangelicals believe gender is determined at birth, and there are only two genders.  Sixty-one percent of evangelicals feel the culture has gone too far in accommodating transgender people.  Yet only one in four evangelicals actually knows someone who is transgender.  They have a strong opinion about a population they do not even know.  We have seen that kind of prejudice far too often in American history.  From Irish immigrants to Blacks to refugees from Central America, we reject those about whom we know next to nothing.

When I transitioned, I believed if people realized transgender individuals are as healthy as the population at large, we would be accepted.  The truth would set us free.  I was naïve. A lot of people do not care about the truth.  They care about power.

I am the enemy of those in power.  I am not deserving of compassion, understanding, or acceptance.  I cannot believe my sense of entitlement was so great that it took this long for me to realize just how much peril I am in.

Transgender people only have rights in 21 states.  With a federal government that wants to erase us from existence, we are only as protected as the state in which we live.  I am fortunate to live in a state that protects my rights.  Most transgender people do not.

These are trying times.  The hate and division are the worst I have seen.  I am frightened.  And even if today yields an election result in which one party is no longer in control of both houses of Congress, it will not change the fact that this administration would like to strike me from the face of the earth.

Please, write your Congressmen and Senators and ask them to speak out against the plans of the Justice Department to erase transgender people.  Our lives depend on it.

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4 thoughts on “Look What Slipped By The News Media!

  1. Thank you for writing this, and I am so sorry. Can you send resources for how a letter like that might look? I’m considering writing to my representatives for the first time. Thank you, Deb An ally in Fort Collins

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  2. I do think that the key ingredient is knowing someone who is trans or non- binary. At least for the adult generations. But I can say that my teenaged daughter’s generation are far more open and accepting and they are influencing their parents. There is hope for the future.
    I am really sorry that this happening in the US. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the mid-term elections.

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  3. The enemy is at the gate, and it would seem that few, outside our own little community, even notice. I too hope for a favorable outcome from this election. But even if we win it will not stop them from this continued assault on the transgender community. Perhaps someday we can live in a world where we are accepted, and valued for Who We Are. But today is not that day. I do not wish to fight, but the fight has been brought to us. And we must respond.

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  4. Good morning Paul, thank you for your insightful post . I Went by my church yesterday evening and I saw the the pastor. I had sent him the Ted talks video a while ago and he indicated that he had a chance to watch it. He indicated that it was gut wrenching. Admittedly it is an old school mainstream yet progressive church,The more allies we have, the more it helps the cause. Last week I also have the opportunity to talk to the LGBTQ coordinator for my congressmember add spent some time with him. Even with the change in government we have to be proactive and diligent. As for iamb in California, I feel a lot more protected, maybe falsely so than if I were in Arizona. Even though, I have nervous. And then next week I am going to be preparing a letter to both of my senators And my congress member and even Congresswoman Pelosi, if she remains as House Majority Leader, reminding her of the importance of ensuring civil rights and equality for all . Being over 65 and under federally controlled health care, that creates another issue. As I explore my options, I am dealt two options, soon or never. This is not a very favorable situation. During the past week, I have been dealing with family on this also. My wife is in denial and my son thinks that the community are weirdos and can be converted through the use of testosterone in the case of a male to female transgender person. They question why I even care about these issues. Again, I was a white, upper middle class male. You know the situation. During the last couple days, they have been laying low.
    Thank you Paula for your insight and wisdom. Hopefully the remainder of this week and the rest of the year will be or favorable know what we have experienced in recent weeks. God bless, Johanna

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