Many conversations our community has begin with the word “why”. Why can’t we wear what we want? Why doesn’t society try harder to understand us? Why aren’t we accepted as the gender we present as? Why are we treated so differently?
I think we all dream and strive for a world where no one thinks differently of us. A world where we are accepted for who we are. I know I do.
How do we get there? I’ve written before that even if the newspapers all over the world printed a headline that read “It’s Okay to Wear Whatever You Want”, it’s still not going to be “okay”. We cannot wait for that moment to come because it’s not coming. Even if it does, it still doesn’t mean that people’s minds will change about us. Laws are on thing, people’s attitudes and perspectives are another.
I believe that our community has the opportunity to show the world that we are just…people. We have this opportunity every time we go out. In every conversation we have. We are not deviants, perverts, or confused. We are not trying to fool anyone. We just want to live our lives.
So, how do we change the world? For a start, we can do small things. When I am in line at Starbucks I will often chat up the person next to me. In doing this, even if it’s small talk about the weather, I want them to know that I am a human being and hopefully they will walk away from that conversation, no matter how small, realizing that they just spoke with a t-girl and that maybe, just maybe, we are not the horrible people that we are sometimes portrayed as.
We can also make this change on a political level.
I can hear your eyes rolling.
I stand by my opinion that as a member of the trans community I never intended to make our community a political issue. It was thrust upon us.
In addition to that, the Trump administration announced its plan to begin implementing their discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. The plan calls for the armed services to begin discharging transgender service members effective April 12, putting the honorable service of thousands of troops on the line, endangering their careers—and their very livelihoods (from The National Center for Transgender Equality Action Fund).
The reason for these changes, according to the president, is because we a burden and he cited “tremendous medical costs” as a reason for the ban (from the Military Times).
This has been a long and dangerous fight and there’s no justification to the ban, according to the courts.
As of October 2017, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia temporarily blocked the ban on transgender people serving in the military, which was set to take effect in March 2018. She stated that “there is absolutely no support for the claim that the ongoing service of transgender people would have any negative effect on the military at all. In fact, there is considerable evidence that it is the discharge and banning of such individuals that would have such effects”. As three federal courts have ruled against the Trump administration’s ban, transgender people have been allowed to continue serving. However, the arguments surrounding the kinds of support the government provides transgender military personnel have continued to evolve on the basis of perceived financial strain. The catalyst for President Trump’s controversial decision – the debate over whether the military (and taxpayers) should be footing the bill for covering transgender service members’ medical care – will likely not disappear. Economic analysis of transgender military personnel health care costs can lead one to a logical conclusion on whether these expenses pose an undue burden that justifies the termination of coverage (from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania).
What does this have to do with members of our community that are not serving in the military? Not only is this another distracting lie that has no basis in reality, but this is one more law that will create fear and prejudice of people like us. People will believe that our community is a burden, that we are expensive. It furthers the stereotype that all transgender people want surgery. This provides precedent to future or justification to keeping existing laws that will discriminate against us.
This is a major step back in an effort for equality or even normalcy for our community. This is, in a way, the opposite of newspapers printing headlines that read “It’s Okay to Wear Whatever You Want”. This is the president calling you and I a burden.
I am not a burden.
As members of the community, I believe we must push forward together. Support each other. Vote against politicians who implement laws that are based on fearmongering and lies about who we are.
You want to change the world? You want the world to be better for us? More accepting of us? Safer for us? I do too. This does not help.