Why Trump’s Administration Is Complicit in Trans* Erasure?

What is trans Erasure?

To put it simply, Trans* erasure is the practice of erasing trans people from view, history, and/importance. This can come in various forms from, and have not only been perpetrated by normative society. Academics and even LGB historians have been misrepresenting Trans for years before they were finally recognized. Even to this day, Trans folks’ identities are often neglected, misrecorded, and misrepresented.

Each time a trans person is recorded as going by a name they no longer go by or have rejected; Each time a trans person who’s suffered or done something amazing is misreported or misrecorded as gay or lesbian, it’s yet another attack on that history… that identity… that existence. Trans people do not deserve to be re-written out of existence, and the facts of their lives are no less significant, no less important, and no more exotic or weird than the facts of anybody else’s existence… it’s high time Trans History were reclaimed for trans people, and high time that trans people were accorded with the basic dignity and respect that anybody else would expect – while not public property as is so often sadly assumed, the details of trans people’s lives deserve to be recorded properly, in accordance with who trans people actually are. Old names are generally irrelevant, and gender identities matter! - Krissie Pearse

Trump'ing the Erasure Politics

On October 21st, 2018, New York Times released Trump’s administration’s plans to impose a policy that would effectively erase the existence of trans folks under federal law. The administration issued a directive to the Department of Health and Human Services, pushing them to reconsider “sex” as an unchangeable criteria only determined by the person’s genitals at birth. 

This attempt looks to defy a developing legal theory that would affirm that gay and trans folks are protected from discriminatory practices under federal law; and aims to limit other civils rights protections, specifically for trans folks.

This move by the Trump administration is only reaffirming the decades long hostility towards gays rights, transgenderism, and gender variance, Issuing this this mandate would only continue perpetuating the violence and harm that we as nonbinary and trans folks, as well as other queer, non-normative presenting folks have to endure daily.

However, this directive not only impact us in the Americas, but Trump’s announcement has pushed other political leaders to carry out similar mandates across countries such as Hungary, and Brazil.

“ the far-right Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán banned gender studies programs at the country’s universities. “We do not consider it acceptable for us to talk about socially constructed gender rather than biological sexes,” an Orbán deputy told the press. Meanwhile, Brazil’s far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, a Rio congressman with fascist leanings, retains his polling edge ahead of this Sunday’s run-off election – despite, or perhaps because of, his routine issue of rabidly misogynist and anti-gay sentiments. Bolsonaro has publicly said that women who are raped “deserve” it, and that he would be incapable of loving a gay son. In 2002, he remarked: “If I see two men kissing each other on the street, I’ll beat them up.” Bolsonaro aims to pack Brazil’s supreme court” - Moira Donegan

In response to the Trump-Pence administration’s intent, the Human Right Campaign set out a statement condemning this motion and outlines the serious repercussions for not only our Trans communities, but also the entire LGBTTQ+ communities.  

Understanding that this mandate would continue to perpetuate violence and harm, The Human Rights Campaign is standing strong with the LGBTTQ+ communities, and is rejecting Trump's motion, urging Congress to take immediate action to ensure that LGBTTQ+ folks' civil rights and freedoms are properly protected

“Setting a destructive precedent, the Trump-Pence administration intends to erase LGBTQ people from federal civil rights protections and eviscerate enforcement of non-discrimination laws,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Defining ‘sex’ in this narrow language tailored to the talking points of anti-equality extremists is part of a deliberate strategy to eliminate federal protections for LGBTQ people. This is a direct attack on the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and, if this administration refuses to reverse course, Congress must immediately take action by advancing the Equality Act to ensure that LGBTQ people are explicitly protected by our nation’s civil rights laws.” - HRC President Chad Griffin

How To Make A Difference In 5 Simple Steps

So how do we handle this? How are we supposed to sleep at night? Don’t fret, together, we’re going to hold each other through this. Below I have listed a few steps that can help us fight this administration, and support our communities, and families during this heavy time.

  1. Educate Yourself, Your Friends, & Families

    • There is never thing as too much knowledge and education. There is always more to learn about every single topic, and the more we invest into learning about identities outside our own, the more we are able to understand the realities of genuine humanity. Books, and scholarly articles are super useful, however don’t forget that with our technologies today, we are able to connect and learn from authors, activists, and other community members. If you’re active on social media, a few pages I highly encourage following are:  @aaron_Philip, @eddiendopu, and @fiercefibrofemme
  2. If You’re Of Age to Vote, VOTE!
    • When things change in the government, when policies, and mandates are imposed, it is part of our duties as citizens input our voices on these decisions. Research your candidates. and ensure that they include trans rights in their platforms. Republican legislators will do just about anything to deter us from voting, especially youth, and those in their young adulthood, so we must stand and take action with the rights that we are still entitled to.
  3. Reach Out to Your Federal, State, & Local Representatives
    • This link will take you directly to your Directory of Representatives, also known as congressman or congresswoman. Again, please ensure you do your research on them to ensure that you are contacting the best person to address these concerns. You can reach out to them in various ways. You can find some tips and tricks here.
  4. Reach Out To Your Communities, And Offer Support
    • Organize with your communities. Trans and intersex organizers in your area are likely already campaigning for their rights. If this is the case, be sure to ask how best you can support their mission and movement, rather than centering your own vision and adopting a cis-savior narrative.
  5. Stay Connected, Stay Involved

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