First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
I think about this poem a lot these days.
I believe that keeping us safe is the most important thing we can do. This takes on many different aspects. For some of us, this means keeping this part of us secret from our family, our friends, our employer. Safety also means avoiding danger and harassment as we are out in public.
But on a broader scale, it also means protecting our health, the way the world sees us, and our rights.
Some of you hate it when I discuss what is sometimes perceived as politics. Every time I write about potential legislation I get comments (which are deleted) and emails (which I ignore) that ask me to stick to posts about high heels and leave the politics to someone else.
I also get emails from t-girls who are afraid to leave the house for fear of being attacked. I understand and sympathize with you. I get it. There are stories every day of someone from our community getting hurt or killed. We are not understood. We are demonized. We are hated.
Public perception of the trans community is something I take very seriously. I believe that when we strut out of the house we are representing every trans person out there. The more often we are seen, the more often we can show the world we are just people. Trying to live our own lives. In a way, we are speaking up for those who are not ready to leave the house yet. I am thankful for the generation that came before me. At the risk of their safety they made the world a little safer for my generation.
But when we are labeled burdens and problematic by the president, it reverses all the good that we are trying to do. This fear-mongering of our community creates hatred towards us and redefines us in an inaccurate and offensive light. The president’s ban on transgender individuals in the military was created because of his insistence that we are a financial strain on the government and portrayed our community as people who all want to get surgeries and hormones.
We all know that not all trans-identifed individuals want, or need, that.
Being painted as a burden creates misunderstanding and prejudice against us. This creates hostility toward us and emboldens those who already hate us.
The military ban is in effect and is a blow to our community whether or not you served our country. Serving in the military is one less thing we can do because we are portrayed as a burden. Add that to many states prohibiting us from adopting or being able to use the bathroom that matches our gender identity, we are seeing more and more things a transperson can’t do. It used to seem far-fetched but I can see malls banning the transcommunity because of the financial impact we cause by stores needing to have an additional unisex bathroom.
There are two things our community needs to be aware, and afraid of, from this week.
Trump poised to roll back transgender health protections
A proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expected in the coming days would make it easier for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to deny care or coverage to transgender patients, as well as women who have had abortions.
The proposal in question is likely to be a reworking of an anti-discrimination section of ObamaCare.
The worry: Advocates fear the administration will eliminate the gains made in ensuring transgender people have equal access to care. Coming on the heels of the military transgender ban, there are fears the administration could go even further and use the proposal as an opportunity to narrow the definition of gender.
Supreme Court Will Hear Cases On LGBTQ Discrimination Protections For Employees
The Supreme Court has accepted three cases that ask whether federal anti-discrimination laws should apply to sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, putting the court on track to consider high-profile LGBTQ issues after its next term begins this fall.
…Depending on how they are decided, the cases could be seen as either continuing a move toward greater rights and protections for LGBTQ people in the U.S. or representing a shift in momentum, four years after the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
You may be wondering that this has to do with you. If you are not out or living full-time, you might think this doesn’t apply to you.
Well, for starters anything that impacts anyone who is transgender impacts all of us. If you are a closeted crossdresser and hate how the world doesn’t understand or accept you, laws like this won’t help the public’s perception of you. These laws will allow discrimination against our community.
Many of us fear we will be caught or outed. I get that. If you don’t identify as trans and just enjoying wearing panties, you are still at risk of getting fired. Do you think your Human Resources understands (or cares) that you are a crossdresser, not transgender?
To paraphrase Niemöller’s poem, they are coming for the transgender community and we must all speak out.
We can speak out by voting. Whether you vote for someone or vote against someone. There are things we can do. Things we must do.
Elections matter, elections have consequences. Republican presidents nominate conservative judges. Republican members of congress pass conservative laws. These are things that do not help our community.