Trump and his administration are planning on narrowing the federal government’s definition of sex, a direct attack on the transgender community. Under the federal law, Title IX, no person shall be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or be subjected to discrimination based on their sex.
The term “sex” has been expanded under Obama’s administration to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The New York Times reports that Trump’s proposed document will adopt a definition of sex based on the genitalia one is born with. This would result in defining sex as simply female or male, which would exclude and erase transgender and non-binary individuals.
There are a number of civil rights protections that are at stake if the document is passed. Issues include which restroom and locker rooms transgender people are allowed to use to which sports teams they can play on; protections that Obama’s administration included under Title IX. Trump has constantly attacked the LGBT+ community since taking office, such as seeking to ban transgender people from the military, stripping protection for transgender prisoners, and worsening healthcare protections for transgender people.
Now more than ever, we need to protect and stand up for LGBT+ rights. Oftentimes members and allies of the LGBT+ community may not know how to directly help when an attack like this happens.
The first step to take if you are an ally of the community is to properly educate yourself on terms and definitions. While this may seem like something small, oftentimes non-LGBT+ people do not fully understand that they may be misgendering a person or not using someone’s proper pronouns. Taking this first step as an ally truly makes a difference, as you can use your knowledge to educate others who may not know and stand up against discrimination. Below is a guide on basic terms and definitions to get started.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Many times people think of sexual orientation and gender identity being the same. However, your orientation is not your identity. See below to understand the difference and see some examples of both.
*Note that there are more sexual orientations and gender identities.
Knowing a person’s pronouns are extremely important so that you can correctly refer to a person as the pronouns they prefer. Below is a list of several pronouns people identify with and a guide on how to add this information to your daily life.
*Note that there are more pronouns.
The Next Step is to Make Your Voice Heard.
#WontBeErased is a hashtag being used across social media platforms. The hashtag is combating the erasure of individuals who do not identify as cisgender. Those who identify as transgender are sharing their stories and proving they will not back down for their basic human rights. Allies, including celebrities and politicians, are standing behind their peers through #WontBeErased.
Remember the power you have as a citizen. Through the National Center for Transgender Equality, you can contact your senators and representatives, as well as learn about the rights one has as a transgender individual.
While the critical midterm elections have just passed, voting is important for every election- nationwide or local . USA.gov provides a list of candidates in each state and territory. Find out which candidates in your region are against Trump’s policy change. Victory Fund has a list of those running for office who are LGBT+ and support the community.
While these attacks are very frightening and overwhelming, we cannot forget that we must continue to fight for human rights and stand up against discrimination. Remember that change begins in small ways. Talking about these issues and with a family member or friend can spark a change, as it might inspire them to go vote or educate themselves. Attending rallies or using the #WontBeErased hashtag prove that you are fighting back and will not back down in the face of Trump’s agressions. Even starting to introduce yourself using pronouns changes the culture and brings more acceptance to all personal identifications. No matter how you show your resistance to this proposed policy, using any means of defiance makes a difference.