Gender identity is an essential part of a person’s livelihood. Recently, its expression and recognition has been subject to intensely violent scrutiny under the Trump administration; on October 21st, 2018, the New York Times released an article outlining the administration’s intentions to redefine gender to a biological standard that considers only genitalia and not self-identification. This dark situation emphasizes how cisgender people like me benefit from inherent privilege. In the face of rampant transphobia, it is essential that us cisgender people use our privilege to oppose the administration and best support the transgender community.
Film student Mace Manzare shared their thoughts with me on how cisgender people can support the transgender community: “Honestly it’s hard to pick one thing…I think if cisgender people took us seriously and actually cared to make room for us at the table…just genuinely supported us for who we are as human beings and not what the label stereotype says we are.” Genuine care and respect are the keys to facilitating basic methods of support for the transgender community. There are several ways to build from this and provide help without harm, and actions that can be done at an individual level.
Calling your representatives is a tiny action that helps on a tremendous scale. It can be daunting to do so, but resources like CallYourRep.co will tell you exactly which representative to call and provide a script to help guide the conversation. To pass legislation that protects transgender people, all of us must act by reaching out on all levels, ranging from federal to local. In addition, donating to causes and campaigns for transgender people in need is invaluable. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project is an incredible charity to consider, and GoFundMe hosts thousands of campaigns in need of assistance, like Scholarships for Trans Youth and A Move for Maddie. Our monetary support is an easily accessible form of help we can provide. On a personal level, it’s important to reach out to your transgender friends in tangible ways to show that you are here in a time of dire need.
Often, we feel powerless when terrifying legislation is passed. The transgender community needs the most protection from the dark intentions of the Trump administration. To bring about change, we must provide our support in every possible form we can use our privilege to access.
Photography by Aaron Cohen