In today’s tumultuous political landscape, it can be hard to know where to begin as an activist and ally. That’s why we’re here to help break down what’s happening in recent U.S. legislation and explain how we can help fight back.
Pride Palace recently donated a percentage of our monthly profits to Trans Women of Color Collective--commonly referred to as TWOCC--an organization dedicated to uplifting the narratives, leadership, and lived experience of trans people of color while building towards the collective liberation of all oppressed people.
In the year 2021 alone, a multitude of anti-trans political hate groups has made several carefully coordinated efforts to push through legislation specifically targeting trans youth rights. This has occurred in over thirty states just this year.
Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Tennessee have already passed bills or implemented key parts of legislation explicitly anti-trans in their mission through executive action.
Let’s break down what is going on and how you can help.
Knowledge is Power
As a sports fan might sometimes say, the best offense is a good defense. Information is valuable. Keeping up with the overwhelming amount of current news is seriously half the battle. You will be a better advocate and ally by reading about and watching what is going on in your community, state, and country.
Here is the piece of bad news: Many political hate groups are very, very organized and well-read on the issue at hand. It’s a common misconception that many hate groups are unsophisticated and uneducated. That isn’t necessarily the case. Understanding the issue at hand is a vital and important first step to executing efficient advocacy work.
Anti-trans political groups are exceptionally skilled at spreading hate because they often manipulate our bureaucratic legal and judicial system. Many of these groups go to great lengths to utilize online advertising services for model legislation that supports the policies they support, which are then taken and used to attack the human rights of trans-Americans.
What are the Anti-Trans Bills Actually Saying?
When examining the anti-trans bills of today, two common themes are found across the U.S. Both of these themes fail to protect trans youth on a governmental level. These bills threaten adolescents’ equal opportunity filled with systematic support for a trans child’s emotional, mental, and physical health. By taking away a trans youth's right to live an authentic life, these politically organized hate groups directly negatively impact a child’s wellbeing. They are trying to cause active harm. Period.
The first common theme to examine in these current legislation pieces is bills that prevent transgender youth students from playing on extracurricular sports teams that align with their gender identity. Kansas, North Dakota, and West Virginia currently house bills today that are making significant progress with this particular issue.
The second common theme found in bills is preventing medical doctors from giving children under 18 gender-affirming medical care.
This action would take away every trans kid's chance of normal adolescence. Every person at every age deserves to feel at peace and accepted in their skin. Unfortunately, trans folks are constantly put in the position of defending their rights, and it can sometimes be exhausting. That is why it is so important for cis allies to band together and add even more voices to the fight. Trans rights are human rights!
What are Actionable Items to Help?
Okay, you did your research, and you know this is serious. But what do you actually...do? How does an activist begin advocating for the issues they care about? Fighting for these important human rights issues can sometimes feel like standing at the bottom of a mountain looking up. We did our research and have a few specific ways you can get involved, use your voice, and help your community be a safe place for everyone to grow up as themselves.
Hit Up Your Reps
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, which is why being a constant voice in your political representative’s ear is an effective way to say your piece. To know where to direct your action, use this anti-trans legislation tracker to determine which states need your help now and what precisely they are facing. Along with that, you can use resources to help you find out who your governmental representatives are. Now you are prepped and ready to call, call, and call some more.
When you call, address the person you are trying to reach by name. Then, you can say that you are calling to oppose efforts to roll back the rights of transgender Americans. Specifically, cite which bill you are referring to because you know your stuff! A helpful tip: state legislators are more likely to change their opinion based on the volume of communication from their constituents, especially if they are based in areas with a typically quieter phone line.
Be a Good Neighbor
Another great way to help our community and practice trans activism is to work with local groups in your neighborhood whose mission is to advocate for trans rights. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and meet other people with similar missions. You can reach out to organizations across the country and ask what they need. If you cannot offer your physical presence, there are always other ways to provide aid and resources.
Donating online is also a great way to show your support and be an activist. One benefit of the power of the internet is that you can donate to different grassroots organizations across the whole country. Even if you are out of state, calling organizations fighting anti-trans laws in their state can direct you to further sources to assist their cause. By staying informed, invested, and involved, we will continue to fight the good fight against the anti-trans political groups at their bureaucratic game.
To make a difference directly to a person in need, consider going directly to the source. Websites like Gofundme allows members to create fundraisers where other members can donate--also known as crowdfunding. By searching “trans,” “transgender,” “affirming,” or “transition fund,” you will be able to find the stories of people who need our help. Seeking out individuals in need and personally sending them funds or resources can completely make a difference in someone’s day. The power of that cannot be undervalued.
Activism in the Time of Covid
In today’s pandemic times, what political activism looks like has needed to adjust to our new reality. When gathering for in-person events was no longer safe to do, virtual protests rose as a new way for the trans activism community to continue to band together. Do some online sleuthing and see if any events are coming up in your area that you can join. Virtual movie screenings and speaker events have also gained immense popularity, conveniently making it possible for you to educate yourself and support the cause without leaving the couch!
It is so important to be a proud vocal supporter and advocate for trans rights. By taking the time to understand the specific pieces of legislation currently on the political table, we can then work together as a community to dismantle them. Trans kids deserve to play basketball, soccer, or any sport on whatever team feels the most right for them. Adolescence is hard enough, so let’s do our best as a group to help kids feel the most comfortable being themselves as we possibly can.
Using your voice matters. Taking action against these burgeoning policies across the United States can stop them from becoming a reality.