Making Space for Trans People in the #MeToo Movement

Campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp have brought sexual harassment to the forefront of the national conscience like never before. But the conversation hasn’t been as inclusive as it should be. The movement must do more to reflect the voices and needs of the transgender community, a demographic that consistently gets overlooked despite facing sexual violence at staggering rates.

Although you wouldn’t know it from mainstream advocacy campaigns, trans people have long been involved in efforts to stop gender-based violence. We are also among the most vulnerable to this violence. Based on a recent survey, more than one in three trans women and one in two trans men have been sexually assaulted — and the rates of sexual assault against non-binary people are even higher.

Trans people of color are disproportionately affected by sexual violence. So are trans people who have done sex work, who have been homeless, and who have disabilities. Many trans survivors face painful barriers when they seek visibility or support.

“[T]here are femmes and black trans women out there who are doing the work to survive and to live, and some of them are screaming ‘Me too’ from the ground that they've just been beaten up on,” says Jari Jones, a Black trans femme actress and photographer, in a video interview. “Some of them are screaming ‘Me too’ from the hospital that they’re laying in. And some of them can't scream because they’re dead.”

KC Clements, a non-binary trans writer who has survived sexual assault, notes that trans people’s experiences often are not reflected in advocacy campaigns. “We need to be recognized as an especially vulnerable population, as well as an especially fierce, beautiful, and empowered community,” they said in an op-ed for HuffPost.

Violence against trans people takes diverse forms. For example, some trans people are perceived as cisgender women or girls, and thus get targeted in the same way as women or girls who are not trans. Other times, trans people get specifically targeted for being trans.

Trans people are also more likely than people in the general public to work in high-risk occupations. For example, roughly one in five trans people has served in the military, where service members encounter high rates of sexual violence according to HuffPost and CNN. Also, a little more than one in 10 trans people has done sex work. Sex workers face high risk of sexual violence and barriers to reporting such violence, according to HuffPost and Time.

When trans people do seek support, we often face hostility or inappropriate assumptions about gender, bodies, and violence. Some have been turned away for services because their voices were too deep. When they called a hotline the listener could not believe they were survivors rather than perpetrators. Some have been told by their therapists or loved ones that no survivor of sexual assault could really be trans.

Some trans people of color, like Eisha Love and Ky Peterson, have been prosecuted when they defended themselves from their attackers. Love was held in prison for three years and nine months over an incident that occurred while fleeing a hostile group of men, while Peterson is still serving a 20-year sentence for killing his rapist in self-defense.

It’s not hard to see why many are simply too scared to speak out at all. “I’ve often felt like I couldn’t discuss my experiences with sexual harassment and assault because I’ve witnessed the difficulty that even cisgender women face when they disclose,” says Raquel Willis, national organizer for the Transgender Law Center, in an op-ed for INTO. “My transness, queerness, and Blackness render my claims even less believable in a society that views me as inherently deviant.”

Despite these barriers, trans people, cis women, and others have been organizing to tackle sexual violence and support each other for a long time.

We have called on cis men to unlearn sexism. We have created and contributed to events, anthologies, and art projects that break the silence about violence against us. We have organized to support those criminalized for survival and sued government officials about rape in prison. We have formed organizations, support groups, and helplines where no means for support existed before. We have fought back against the myth of trans people committing sexual assault in restrooms. And we have advocated for policies that support survivors and defend reproductive freedom.

We still have a long way to go. To get there, trans people must also be heard when we say, “Me too.”

READ MORE IN OUR SERIES, "DISMANTLING SEXUAL HARASSMENT"

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Dr. Timothy Leary

"What this country needs is more closet space": J. Edgar Hoover circa 1947.

Anonymous

Trans people are overlooked? Seriously? I don't remember the last time I read an article about "rights" that didn't center around transgenders. In fact, it seems like 70% of news article finds a way to include them even if it has nothing to do with them

Anonymous

The Trans community pushed lesbians aside to fight for transgender rights. Now we will argue over bathrooms instead of everyone's right to be a woman. If you had fought for women's rights to be women first I would not be giving up- on the LGBT community now. Welcome to second class.

Anonymous

This article predictably pushes transexual propaganda (they should make it a crime to do sex change mutilations) omits ugly facts about who trasexuals are., including in homicide cases of who were the transgenders before they were killed? Transgenders (mutilated gays/lesbians as all transgenders are homosexuual/lesbian) involved in prostitution are involved in drug dealing, pimping minors into prostitution or pedophilia. Transexuals are anti-social people, transexuals are drug junkies who commit robberies, drug dealing and pimping minors into prostitution.

With the 28 transgenders who were killed in the U.S. in 2017 (among other things) to try to get sympathy for the transgenders. LA Times reporter Jaclyn Michelle Cosgrove omitted that in 2 cases, the transgenders were shot and killed by the police such as 1 in Missouri where a transgender stabbed a man, had tried to attack a cop and was shot in killed. In the Georgia Tech case, the transgendergay had refused to comply, tried to attack cops and was killed.

With assault and battery cases, there are more cases of homosexuals (sometimes lesbians) and transgenders or transexuals (mutilated gays and lesbians) committing violent crimes such as indecent exposure and then sex abuse or the many cases where homosexuals, lesbians and transexuals (maimed gays/lesbians) commit violent crimes in a drug rage. There are so many more cases of transgenders mixing Cocaine, Meth, etc. with the hormone shots they take & a violent combining where transexual commits violent crime in drug rage. But again, the far more common crimes described get little to no coverage by most journalists or if they do, they almost always give ½ facts.

Finally, this will offend people, but if a transexual gets killed, no matter how including a case where a man shoots and kills a transexual or transgender in a robbery, it's best to not mourn the transgenders death, because that transexual has a bad ugly history of doing the things described here. @least that dead transgender won't be able to sell drugs, commit robberies to support their filth & transexuals are pedophiles. Transgenders are snakes (cobras) and if a person kills a transgender, think of it as a mongoose killing a cobra. I am not a Christian and I hate transexuals and world is better place without them as transexuals (mutilated homosexuals and lesbians) are worse than the homosexuals (those who weren't surgically maimed).

Anonymous

Other things to add to my post of July 29, 2018 regarding transgenders with added comments on transexuals, gays, and lesbians. As said, I am not a religious person and I hate transexuals (mutilated homosexuals and lesbians). Transexuals who are in prostitution are drug junkies commit other crimes such as robberies, pimping minors into prostitution, etc. to support their drug habit of mixing Cocaine and Meth with the hormones they take and that combination can cause them to commit violent crimes in a drug rage. They should make transexuality a crime and abolish sex change mutilations. I do not care about gay/lesbian marriage and I think homosexuality/lesbian conduct must be treated the same way as tobacco use by adults and I think they should abolish sex changes. Other things.

I don’t care about the gay and lesbian marriage and if knowing and willing adults want to do this then it’s their life. But many gays and lesbians were childhood sexual abuse victims which could have caused their sexual conduct as sexual conduct can be learned. It’s possible that it could be inborn for some, but even if that’s proven to be true , that wouldn’t rule out the fact that sex abuse could be a cause for some. It’s same way that some people have lung problems because they’re exposed to pollution, tobacco and then some people live clean lives and still have lung problems because of bad genes. Then you have people who use tobacco and don’t get any problems because of good genes. It’s still better to not expose yourself to pollution and not smoke.

With June 2016 Orlando Pulse, given that many of the victims were Hispanic and given the problems of homosexual Catholic priests, it can easily be that 1 or more of the gay men killed and wounded in the June 2016 Orlando Pulse had been as a boy molested by gay pedophiles such as gay Catholic priests which caused them to repeat sexual conduct they learned from their abuse & possibly even turn out to be gay pedophiles. It turns out that on that night, there were underaged teenagers in the pub, so there were individual pedophiles seeking victims, before the shooting. Now it wasn’t Omar S. Mateen’s place to be executioner. It was the police’s job to arrest, with jury trials and courts deciding punishment. But there were pedophiles that night in the Orlando Pulse before shooting.

We already know that with Orlando Pulse, Luis Javier Ruiz, 1 of the homosexual men who survived has AIDS and he got this as a result of promiscuity, alcohol and drugs. Orlando Pulse had drug junkies & drug dealers there that night before the shooting and homosexual Luis Javier Ruiz is an AIDS infected drug junky who survived the June 2016 Orlando Pulse shooting. It’s possible that Luis Javier Ruiz is still using drugs because drug junkies often have relapses.

Back to transgenders, Democrats and Republicans push the same things on some topics (already mentioned by me) such as transgenderism and how do you answer the fact that Democrats push ideas you differ with only that they are honest about this while Republicans especially conservatives say they’re against this, but then push what they say to be against, such as people who call themselves Republican conservatives will speak against pedophiles like HB Milk who boasted about having homosexual relations with teenage boys but then the same Republican conservatives support Breitbart and Fox News having Milo Yiannopolous making excuses for homosexual pedophilia and then the same Republicans making excuses for Breitbart.

It’s predictable when we hear gays such as MiloH Yiannopolous supporting pedophilia when it’s homosexual as he did in interviews. And I think the conservatives are dishonest this. @least with people such as Oprah, KamalaD Harris, ex President Obama, etc., they are honest and you know what they think. Those who call themselves ‘conservatives’ will say they’re against this, but then they hire columnists who support this and who support transgenders such as Michelle Malkin, AnnH Coulter-2 columinsts who are pro-transgender.

As Republican Party and Fox News have had people who are transexual such as WBruce Jenner as a guest, no ideology difference between the Republicans and Democrats on some topics and no ideology difference between CNN and Fox News on some topics. Fox News is no better than CNN, especially as Fox News has commenters who are pro-transgender such as Ann H. Coulter and Michelle Malkin who both make excuses for transexuality. Fox News is pro-transgender and they’re even worse because @least CNN, NBC, ABC and the other networks are honest while Fox News pushes the same trash.

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