By now, you’ve likely heard about the horrific leaked memo from the Trump administration. This document, brought to the public’s attention by the New York Times on October 21, the Department of Health and Human Services is seeking to legally define sex as biological under Title IX, which prevents gender-based discrimination.
It states that the government needs to define gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” It would define gender as male or female, based on genitalia recorded at birth, and any individual’s dispute about their gender would require genetic testing.
We at the Sacramento LGBT Community Center were shocked, disgusted but (most of all) not surprised to read how precisely the current administration is working to further marginalize and strip protections from the transgender community.
Should the memo be finalized and the guidelines set, its most immediate impact will likely be felt among transgender and gender-nonconforming people when they encounter health care discrimination or are denied the use of facilities in public schools and universities.
The Center has been a safe space for the transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming community for more than three decades. From legal and medical referrals to advocacy and support groups, we strive to help everyone in our community thrive.
If you are interested in helping us increase access to resources that meet the needs of our transgender family, please consider becoming a monthly donor.
Reliable, sustained funding is how we assure that everyone who walks through our doors is offered every resource we know of.
And if you or someone you know is struggling with their gender identity — whether that struggle is personal, professional, academic or otherwise — please encourage them to seek support from The Center or any of the resources we have vetted as affirming and safe organizations.
“This is a blatant assault on our community and the legal protections we’ve spent decades building. Further, it is part of a greater pattern of attacks on the civil rights of the most vulnerable, from immigrants to religious minorities to disabled people to those living in poverty – and the list goes on,” said Sam Ames, Interim Executive Director & Elena Rose Vera, Deputy Executive Director from Translifeline. “For those of us who are multiply targeted by these measures, the struggles are only compounded. In moments like these, fear, uncertainty, isolation, and despair are understandable emotions – but they are not the end of our story.”
Now is the moment we have to step up for our transgender family. We cannot sit idly by as more rights are chipped away and, frankly, our trangender community is sick and tired of being on the front lines alone.
So let’s get to work!
The ACLU has compiled a list of action items that anyone in support of transgender and GNC people should acknowledge. From voting to raising awareness among cis friends and supporting transgender journalists, this is an essential checklist for transgender rights. We’ve added a few Sacramento and California-specific resources.
- GET OUT THE VOTE. Voting at the state and local level is especially helpful to transgender liberation because: The midterm elections (this year) aren’t just about Congress, it’s also about state legislatures, state courts, city council races, and local school board elections. Today’s Trump memo didn’t come out of nowhere, it is the work of our opponents at every level of government — they worked locally, and we have to also.
- Visit vote.org for more information on getting out the vote in your area. Organize your friends and family to vote with you. Provide a ride or money for rides to the polls. Call friends and family in key swing states to encourage them to vote.
- Bring Attention to YES ON 3 in Massachusetts. There’s a ballot initiative coming to a vote on November 6 in Massachusetts that would repeal protections for transgender and nonbinary people in public accommodations. This is the first statewide vote to strip transgender people of their rights ever — and it would take away protections won in the legislature after decades of fighting to explicitly extend these protections to transgender people.
- Help get your transgender family the support they need. Every time that the government swoops in with another dangerous setback or removal of hard-fought for transgender recognition and support, it is extremely traumatic. So please, check on your family.
- Take time out to text or call your gender nonconforming and transgender friends. Take them out to lunch or get them a massage or manicure. Seriously, small things make all the difference. They need to hear from you and see you next to them through this fight.
- Volunteer to help LGBTQ+ organizations. We are always understaffed and can use extra hands at events, support groups and other programs.
- Get trained to help on support lines. The Translifeline.org is a great organization to reach out to. We at The Center offer LGBTQ+ training for schools, businesses, and healthcare institutions so please contact us if you would like us to provide training or guidance.
- Show up to trans-centric demonstrations. The more of you that show up, the more likely they will be noticed by the media and the community-at-large. The week of November 10th is Transgender Awareness Week and the Gender Health Center is hosting several events in the Sacramento area that you should support in any way you can.
- Contribute to bailout funds. So much of this kind of systemic discrimination means that transgender people, especially those of color, are policed and incarcerated. We must join mass bailouts to get our community back onto the streets to fight with us — and so we can fight for them.
- Attention, cisgender (those who identify with the same gender marker given at birth) folks: Call your people and have conversations. Ask your friends to share articles or videos written or produced by transgender people, so we can boost their messages. Educate yourself to make sure you’re challenging the notion that there is a binary and coherent notion of “biological sex.” Make sure your family understands that transgender liberation is an integral part of the LGBTQ+ community, and supporting gay marriage was just one facet of LGBTQ+ equality.
- Call or text three cisgender people in your life about a measure they can take to support transgender people.
- Follow legal organizations (like LAMBDA Legal, the ACLU, and Transgender Law Center) for updates on when you’re able to weigh in. They will give you templatized talking points and instructions for your convenience. For this measure, we expect the comment period to be in the next two months.
- The holidays are coming up and we NEED you to have those hard conversations with your family. It is often dangerous for LGBTQ+ folks to confront family about political stances and the impact that comes back to the most marginalized in our community. So flex your privilege at the dinner table and change the minds of the folks in your own homes.