The last few days have been probably the most terrifying hours the transgender community has experienced. It would rank right up there with coming out to family and friends, or it could be the most terrifying thing many of us have ever had to face.
The idea of a Trump White House scares me beyond measure. Add on top of that a Republican Congress and undoubtedly a conservative Supreme Court, the future of transgender rights in America is truly in danger.
Trump has made no effort to hide his disdain for many minorities. His choice for Vice President, Mike Pence, has actively and fervently worked against protections for the LGBTQ community in his home state of Indiana.
Such disdain was made evident last last week when Trump made a statement on his website in reference to the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). “Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. It is our first liberty and provides the most important protection in that it protects our right of conscience. Activist judges and executive orders issued by Presidents who have no regard for the Constitution have put these protections in jeopardy. If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”
FADA would legalize LGBTQI discrimination by employers, landlords, businesses and health care providers all based on personal religious beliefs.
But that is just the start. Right now Gavin Grimm, a teenage transgender male, is waiting for his case to head the the Supreme Court. Gavin, with the help of the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against Gloucester High School arguing the school’s bathroom policy is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment and violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.
It goes without saying that Trump will nominate an ultra conservative right wing justice to fill the spot on the Supreme Court left open after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. With a Republican controlled Congress, that nominee will be confirmed and thus setting the court for the continued discrimination of the LGBTQ individuals.
Any ruling on Gavin’s case will, like the ruling on same-sex marriage, set precedent. With a High Court heavy on the conservatives, the result of a negative ruling for Gavin will likely over turn the protections already in place in many school districts across the country. This will also mean that the stage will be set for a slew of anti-transgender bathroom laws to be passed on the state level.
With the help of an unfavorable SCOTUS ruling, there will likely be some interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that will allow business, schools, and individuals to discriminate against trans people. leaving no the trans community with no legal recourse.
If you want to see what the new government’s stance on transgender individuals is, just take a look at the guidelines and goals of the Family Research Council. It is plain to see that the FRC wants to believe that transgender people don’t exist. The Republican Party platform echos these same ideas. In a statement on the FRC web site – “Virtually all people have a biological sex, identifiable at birth and immutable through life, which makes them either male or female. The transgender movement represents a denial of this physical reality.” And surprise, surprise who do we find attending a FRC luncheon this past June – numerous high level Republicans, including the co-chair of the Republican Party’s platform committee.
As part of the transition team for the Trump administration, Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow with Family Research Council, has been chosen to head domestic issues. This would mean that Blackwell, who has been labeled an religious extremist, would be heading up policy for the Departments of Energy, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Education, Interior, Health and Human Services and Agriculture.
It is no secret that Trump and the Republican party have been on a long campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now that there will be a Republican controlled Capitol, this has a strong likelihood of happening, quite possibly within the first 100 days in office. This would leave millions across the country without health care. This includes thousands of trans men, women and youth with out access to transition related medical care including hormone replacement therapy, mental health, and surgical procedures.
What is the ultimate price of a Trump White House? Not the potential price, the actual end game picture? Without this access, without a light at the end of a long dark tunnel of dysphoria, many transgender individuals will see no future for themselves.
The fear is so real, so palpable, that several trans youth, so fearful for their future, took the difficult, painful step and ended their life just hours after the announcement that Trump would be our President. I grieve their loss. I grieve for the countless trans youth and adults who will make the same choice in the days and months ahead. I am not ashamed to admit that those thoughts crossed my own mind.
As the community is still reeling from the devastating loss and dark future, there are many who are calling for transgender people and their allies to step up and continue to move equality forward. GLAAD, one of the country’s leading LGBTQ organizations released a statement shortly after the election was called for Trump. “Donald Trump sits atop the most hateful Republican platform in history, one that sorely endangers the most fundamental American values of fairness and equality for all. While disappointed, we are certainly not defeated; the pursuit of full acceptance will continue until everyone, no matter who they are or who they love, can simply live the life they love.”
Activists took to social media to make sure their voice was heard as well.
From author and activist Jennifer Boylan, “More than ever, our community needs all of us to fight. They need us to continue to find allies even within a hostile Congress and Administration. They need us to stand up for the people that now– more than ever– fear they have no voice. They need for us to be brave, and to redouble our efforts to create a better future.”