They weren’t kidding when they said the intent was to erase us from existence.
The official websites of the United States Health Department and the Office of Civil Rights have removed all language applying to Transgender identities as the effort to delegitimize between 1.4 million and 1.6 million Transgender Americans across the nation continues.
After the initial memo leak exchanged between five separate government bodies, including the aforementioned along with the Department of Education, The department of Justice and the Department of Labor, marches and protests erupted on the streets of the USand at the gates of the White House. To quell the growing tensions between Transgender people and our allies, Donald Trump told reporters the following day that “Nothing has been decided, we’re still talking about what to do with the Transgender.” He went on to say “I’m protecting everybody.”
Of course, that was a lie. In that moment, he already knew that the intent to spearhead our removal from all protections and equal liberties was in full swing. It was only hours after his statement that the Department of Justice informed the US Supreme Court that it was now legal for employers to fire their employees solely on the basis of their trans identity, citing that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not include protections from discrimination, harassment or violence for transgender workers.
A coalition of 16 states led by Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson had been urging the U.S. Supreme Court since September to reverse a federal appeals court decision in favor of a fired transgender funeral home worker and legislate that workers can be terminated, without legal consequence, for being transgender. He was granted his wish.
It not likely that these decisions to eradicate Transgender people from equal protections will be met with a compassionate ear even when challenged by organizations such as the ACLU. President Trump has stacked the Supreme Court Bench with hyper-conservatives that rule by the theory of religion rather than inclusion, despite Separation of Church and State, an expression underscoring the first amendment intended to protect marginalized communities from religious persecution.
These efforts to wipe references to “Gender identity” and “transgender” have been expedited over the last week as the country was reeling over a relentless succession of attempted bombings, election tampering and gun violence, thus the dialog regarding the revoking of civil rights and equal protections for all transgender people fell silent allowing the Trump administration to push them through without attracting undesirable attention.
Currently, the Department of Labor still displays its page reflecting former President Barack Obama’s executive order issued in 2014 intended to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors and subcontractors from being fired on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is uncertain how long this will remain before it, too, is redacted.
With the redefining of sex as being only binary, indicated solely by genitalia, the first to fall will be transgender students who, under the reign of Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, have already seen their protections rolled back. Recently, we’ve witnessed the consequences of this as a transgender middle school student was refused access to both the boys and girls locker roomsduring an active shooter drill wherein the teenagers were being taught protocols to seek safety in the event of a violent crisis.
DeVos has already developed a notorious reputation for targeting minority students, including funneling federal funding away from predominantly black inner city schools to wealthy, private white schools of religious persuasion that were also given massive tax cuts thanks to Trump’s new tax reform laws. She also took a devastating swipe at disabled students.
Transgender Americans will no doubt just be the first in the firing line as the Trump administration continues their assault on vulnerable minorities, assuring his base that he will indeed make America White, Christian, Heterosexual and Cisgender only.
This begs the question; Who does the eradication of trans rights serve? Whose quality of life is improved by our systemic erasure? Who in America is safer by making us more vulnerable to violence?
The answer is clear. No one. No one is better off due to transgender people being ousted from the civil rights act. It merely fuels hatred and puts it proudly on display as acts of discrimination against us skyrocket with political approval. There is no reason or rationale except to please an evangelical base whose superiority complex relies on the oppression of those they deem undeserving of rights they already have.
Ultimately, the removal of trans people from protections others possess denies us the right to thrive and leaves us without adequate representation in our body of government, without access to healthcare relating to gender dysphoria, without the ability to request justice be served on our behalf when we experience discrimination, harassment, violence or to fight any of the over 100 anti-LGBT pieces of legislation being proposed in our home country.