Trans Rights Are Human Rights And We Must Protect Them | Emily Bashforth

Trans Rights Are Human Rights And We Must Protect Them

Has anyone else forgotten what it feels like to open Twitter in the morning and not immediately start screaming?I think I have because I certainly screamed when I learnt that President Trump has rescinded protections for transgender students which previously allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. Nope, this is not the 1950s but 2017, in fact. No...really...
The top civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department rejected the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice. So, in layman's terms, transgender students are having choice taken away from them whilst simultaneously having their rights breached yet AGAIN by their President, the figure who is supposed to protect the rights of his people, not snatch them away to make marginalised groups feel even more oppressed than they already do.

This action of pure transphobia comes from a man who made a commitment to stand by the progress made for LGBTQ+ equality, a man who promised to protect the futures of children, a man who proudly smiled whilst holding a pride flag with the words 'LGBT for Trump' written on it in April 2016 but, yet again, he has gone back on his word, his empty words and promises which he had no intention of keeping. Trump is stripping away the rights of the most vulnerable people in society day by day, slowly dehumanising them more and more as time passes to fuel his ego and sick need for power. There is a letter T in the LGBTQ+ initialism for a reason and, if the President wants to claim to support that group, he cannot ignore it. Additionally, this President who oh so famously said, and I quote "No one has more respect for women than I do," is violating the freedom and rights of women across America by denying trans women the chance to enter their preferred bathroom. A trans woman is still a woman, Trump, anyone who identifies as a woman should be a woman in your eyes and all women ought to be treated equally and fairly.

America has made a great deal of progress in terms of accepting trans people with open arms into society. Being transgender has become a much less taboo topic and children in particular feel more comfortable with opening up about which gender they identity as. Obama did so much campaigning for equality for the trans community during his presidency and, now, all of that is being undone by a corrupt administration. What scares me the most is the fact that these actions of discrimination do not come solely from Trump. He has his disgusting beliefs and the power to act on them in order to create his utopia. However, I cannot bear to think of how many other politicians these decisions must pass through before they are approved. How many people have to say "Yep, that's okay" before acts are passed and papers are signed? There are so many people in power in America right now, supporting Trump to create further divisions between heterosexual, white males and the rest of the country. And I cannot help but wonder, do these people approving Trump's actions agree with him? Do they hold the same twisted beliefs? Or are they just going along with his plans out of fear? They saw what happened to Sally Yates when she refused to oppress her fellow human beings - she was sacked and they aren't prepared to lose their big pay slips for the sake of humanity. If I was working in the White House, I would be screaming in the face of the President until I convinced him that he was making a wrong move here, yet his colleagues are doing no such thing, which makes the whole thing so much more frightening. It's so disturbing to think that this isn't just one man, it's an army.

Transgender people are human, which the government evidently seem to have forgotten here. This isn't "the bathroom debate," as it's colloquially known. This isn't a discussion of public toilets. Denying a trans man or woman the right to use their preferred restroom is sheer transphobia, no matter how you try to twist it or sugarcoat it. Denying them the freedom which non trans people have is a violation of their rights and goes against everything America ought to stand for, just as many of the acts Trump has already passed do too. People just want to use the bathroom. People just wanna pee! And you're going to deny them that right? Because they're trans? Because they aren't like you? Because you think they're different? Personally, I have no issue with who decides to use the bathroom with me. Unless someone approaches me and pins me against the wall and begins causing me harm in a public restroom, I see no reason why I should care about who is in there with me. I care not about whether a trans gender person is in the toilets with me but about their safety. I want trans people to feel safe and comfortable, not pressured and forced to conform to social norms out of fear.

The trans community deserve respect, equality, fair treatment and the right to a choice like anybody else. Denying someone equal rights simply for being themselves is barbaric, it's nonsensical, it makes me sick to my stomach because this is not a political issue, it's a humanitarian issue. This is hatred towards a minority group who already have to overcome so much adversity on a daily basis. Almost 60% of trans people avoid using public restrooms out of fear of harassment; 1 in 3 literally avoid eating and drinking to prevent themselves from needing to use the bathroom. These people need protecting, we do not need protecting from them. Why anybody would wish to inflict suffering upon a group of people who already feel like outcasts is beyond me because what could one possibly gain from compromising the safety of students in particular? A school is supposed to be a safe environment. It's somewhere we ought to be learning, growing and making memories, no one should have to walk the hallways in fear or have to control their bladder until they get home and can use their bathroom in peace. If trans people cannot use public bathrooms how they please, how can they be expected to even attend school? How can they go to work? How can they attend public events? How can they go to health care facilities? Denying trans people access to restrooms destroys not only their peeing schedule but their daily lifestyles and routines because public accommodations are the key to civil rights.

I wish this rich, white, heterosexual male in power could spend a day in the shoes of a trans person to see how he would feel if the roles were reversed. I wish anyone who stands by him could experience the level of oppression that trans people are feeling right now. Perhaps then they would realise that their administration is attacking disenfranchised communities one by one and causing so many to live in unnecessary fear.

We are in such a good place right now. Trans people are willingly coming forwards and saying "THIS IS WHO I AM." We need to continue this movement. We need to defend the rights of trans people, today and every day, when they feel so helpless. Their hands are tied. Their President is not listening to them but is instead reducing them to body parts in the most disturbing way. He's attempting to annihilate their existence and so they are relying on us to show up and speak out on their behalf. So, to you, use your voice. I know how painful it is to only have a small following. I know how powerless you feel when it seems all you can do is Tweet, sign petitions, march and make Instagram captions but all of those little things make a bigger difference than you think. If everyone who supports trans rights sends ten Tweets, imagine how much support the trans community will receive via Twitter alone. We can all do something, even if it seems like nothing. For the sake of your brothers and sisters and for the sake of humanity, you must RESIST. Resist the oppression, resist the fact that people want to silence you, resist the hatred, the transphobia, the violence and the corruption administration. Don't just sweep this issue under the rug. Don't look away like you do with war, poverty, corruption, homelessness and environmental destruction - use your platforms, let people know you are there, hold people in your arms and tell them that they are not alone. Right now speaking up, loudly and often, to tell trans and non-binary people you have their back is the most important thing you can do. Every small bit of protection for trans people is worthwhile.

If you are a teacher in a school, talk to your students and let them know that you fully accept them for who the are and whatever gender they identify as. Talk to your trans students and fully reassure them that being who they so desperately want to be is no crime and remind them often that there are an army of staff prepared to support them at this difficult time. Talk to your non trans students. Educate them on this topic and inform them of the impact transphobia has. Open their eyes to the world we live in and tell them on the daily that we all have a right to choice and to be ourselves. Allow your students a choice when it comes to using the restroom, do not restrict them. Support every member of the LGBTQ+ community and do so with pride. You teachers have the future walking around in your hallways, you are having the biggest impact of all because you are shaping these kids' views on society and on each other.

To the trans community, we stand by you and shall protect you when your President is doing so little to do so himself. You are cared for and are worthy of respect, validation and love. Your existence poses no threat to the rights of others and you should never allow anyone to tell you otherwise. In fact, your existence makes the world quite beautiful indeed and it injects so much light into a dark place. You deserve to feel comfortable with who you are and with expressing your identity. Despite feeling so solitary right now, know that you are not alone. The world is here, by your side, and we want to take your forwards with us into a happy, accepting, tolerant future. Do not limit yourself. These dangerous government officials should not define you and they have no say in how many successes you are set to achieve. Society believe in you and communities across the globe only want you alive, safe, healthy and equal. We always have and always will continue to fight alongside you in order to protect your rights. We are tired of living in such a mess. We don't want this. We don't want you living like this. We only want peace and we shall march and protest until we are living in it.

We have your back. We love you. We are deeply committed to making changes. And you are perfect just as you are.

For LGBTQ+ people in crisis:

Trevor Project 866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline 877-565-8860

Suicide Line 800-273-8255

Now, go do some reading. Educate yourself.

Love, Emily. :) xx

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