With the uprising of hatred for transgender individuals in the eyes of the government, President Donald Trump has shown his disapproval of the LGBT community by defining gender strictly on the sex characteristics of biological men and women.
By doing this he could effectively eradicate the trans identity within the eyes of legislation.
You may be thinking: “Well, what does this mean for trans individuals?”
By defining gender inside the confines of the law, this could potentially make it impossible for trans individuals to get healthcare without applying with their biological sex. Individuals who have transitioned but have birth certificates still representative of their biological sex could be denied passports to travel.
This can also prove dangerous for trans individuals, due to the already lax protections for them in the eyes of violence. As of November of last year, 29 trans individuals were killed in the United States in violence-related acts, as well as in situations of domestic violence, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Without protections against violence, trans people are at a higher risk of transphobic acts of violence.
With Trump’s ill-imagined campaign to prove how anti-LGBT he actually is, trans individuals could also be denied access to gender confirmation surgery, which is vital in the mental health and livelihood of some trans folk. Dr. Jochen Hess of the Essen University Hospital in Germany conducted a survey of 156 people who had gender confirmation surgery, where they evaluated quality of life after surgery.
“It’s very important that we have good data on [quality of life] in transgender people,” Hess said, according to Medical News Today. “[Trans individuals] generally have a worse quality of life than non-transgender population with higher rates of stress and mental illness, so it’s good that surgery can change this.”
If the government actually goes through with defining gender in the same category of biological sex (one being internal representation of self and the other being explained with biological genitalia) the little freedom trans individuals have to receive gender confirmation surgery will be dismantled.
Some things we as Shippensburg University students can do to influence trans equality is to understand the politicians who are running. Voting can possibly lead to the removal of the homophobe currently sitting in the Oval Office, and replacing him with someone who values LGBT individuals as human beings.
Another thing we as students can do is to expose businesses that claim to be “equal opportunity,” except for when employees are trans. The last thing on a list of many is to respect trans folk as individuals.
Trans folk are not your “new trans friend,” or an object to allow you to “learn about the community.” Respect goes a long way.
Being an ally takes zero effort, and is important for the survival of those from the LGBT community.