Time Marches Forward and So Do We

Every day, I am confronted with antagonistic queries about why the ACLU would focus on trans rights work. “How many trans people are there really?” we are asked. Or, “Isn’t this just a new niche issue that doesn’t affect a lot of people?”

The assumption is that trans existence is new, that trans people are so marginal as to be unworthy of advocacy, that discrimination against such a new and insignificant community should not consume our attention or resources.

None of this is accurate.

Trans people have always existed. And while we have and continue to face rampant and deadly discrimination, so too have we built beautiful communities and movements of resistance and love.

A video released today by the ACLU in collaboration with Zackary Drucker, the Transparent producer and artist; Laverne Cox, the Emmy-nominated actress; and the creative team of Molly CrabappleKim Boekbinder and Jim Batt tells this story of trans history and resistance, which is as relevant and as urgent now as ever.

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Just two weeks ago, President Trump announced on Twitter that he wanted to reverse current policy and ban transgender individuals from military service. Meanwhile, continued legislative efforts in states like Texas seek to ban transgender individuals from public restrooms. The consequences of this discrimination from our government are deadly.

In one comprehensive survey of more than 27,000 transgender individuals, almost one third of respondents reported living in poverty as compared with only 14 percent of the U.S. population. Over half of respondents reported being denied health care related to their gender transition. A quarter indicated that they did not seek medical attention at all due to fear of discrimination. And more than three-quarters reported experiencing harassment in school because they were trans, ultimately leading 17 percent of respondents to drop out of high school altogether.

All of this contributes to a cycle of discrimination and violence that leads to homelessness, incarceration, and ultimately, for many — particularly trans women of color — premature death.

Indeed, at least 15 trans people have been murdered in the country this year, almost all of them women of color. The numbers are likely higher, but violence against trans individuals so often goes unreported, or the victims are inaccurately classified by their assigned sex at birth.

So while there is an increase in visibility and attention to trans people, the discrimination remains staggering. And without accurate information about trans people, our lives, and our rich histories, the impulse to push us out of public life will continue. But we continue to tell our vivid, vibrant, and critical story of trans resistance.

Time marches forward, and so do we.

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Jeralyn

Beautifully done thank you.

Anonymous

Transgender activists are always blaming all the problems of transgender people on discrimination. Where's the personal responsibility to not use illegal drugs, engage in promiscuous sex, and avoid other risky behaviors? It's known that transgender people are far more likely to be prostitutes which is a dangerous job that is often combined with illegal drug use. It seems that every transgender person wants to claim victim status rather than take control of their own lives.

Anonymous

This comment is case in point.

Anonymous

Why is it, do you think, that people become prostitutes? Do you think it's because they had lots of other options, lots of other people who were willing to hire them? Drug use is a problem in people who are depressed, but the root cause is discrimination and prevalent nationwide anti-trans rhetoric. The president just made a twitter decree that we can't serve in the US anymore, and our right to use a restroom while we're out is always in question lately. It's fucking humiliating, though I'm sure you can't imagine. Yes, personal responsibility is a thing, but trans women aren't putting themselves into these situations. We aren't firing ourselves from the good paying jobs we had before we come out, or ostracizing ourselves from society; you guys are.

Anonymous

What about the rights of women who don't want men in their private spaces? It seems women are continually being pushed to the side in order to accommodate men. A man who wants in the women's bathroom because he claims to be "transgender" is still allowed to use the bathroom in the men's bathroom. The same goes for a woman who wants in the man's bathroom. Everyone gets to go to the bathroom. You just have to go to the one that fits your anatomy. There's nothing discriminatory about that.

Terra

Cis women already have the right to use the bathroom, what are you talking about? Get this TERF nonsense out of here, please. You can put "transgender" in quotes like it isn't a valid thing, but you'd have to be COMPLETELY ignorant about psychology to pretend it's not a legitimate condition in the year 2017. Trans women aren't men, trans men aren't women, and they shouldn't have to go into the wrong restroom to satisfy some hateful stranger. Don't come into an article advocating rights for trans people and launch into a rant opposing it, talking about safe spaces.

Regulate the ba...

America is backwards on bathroom policy! We try to blame the human when we should be blaming the bathroom!

The current set up of Men and Women baths each with stalls and urinals as appropriate. The problem is these bathroom stalls have walls that are 2 feet off the ground and stop at 5 feet. Plus the huge gaps in most stall doors.

The US government should mandate toilets in public spaces or intended for public use to have full stalls. Stalls with doors and walls that are floor to ceiling. Then you don't have to hear or see who is shitting next to you. Simple solution. The current standard of basically shitting in front of everyone is stupid and dead.

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