A Message to the American Trans Community

America has radically changed; perhaps permanently. Autocratic regimes do not go quietly; the effort needed to excise their ideology will be significant.

However -- and I will lead with hope -- this country is a big place. While American ideals have been severely tarnished in the abstract, there are many who still hold them. We have made great progress over the past fifteen years, and especially the last eight, educating our neighbors about us and building relationships and a place for ourselves in the community. As we learned this week, those people whom we've touched generally live in blue cities and counties.

So, if you are trans, or gender non-conforming, get thee to such a sanctuary.

I'm serious. I exist today because my grandparents had the foresight and good timing to leave the Russian Empire while they still could. My family that didn't were exterminated. While what we're seeing today is nothing like those days -- yet -- fascists are the same everywhere. If you want to live authentically, you must go where you will be safe.

Sanctuary. Refuge. Safety.

There's been talk online about youth suicidality and reports about some who've carried out the deed. I don't know the truth of the situation, but the anxiety is real. Deal with it. Make a plan.

Here are your choices:

For the parents of a young trans child, nothing has really changed. If you live in a secure community that respects your family and choices, live your life fully. If not, either leave or have your child hold off. Let me be clear -- there is no shame in delaying transition until you are safe. Some of us delayed for half a century or longer; you can delay for a few years or until you move.

For adolescents, the story is pretty much the same. If you're in a safe space, continue your authentic life. If people loved and supported you before, they will continue to do so, maybe even more so. If you live in rural Ohio, suck it up until you can get out of the house and go to college, or the big city to get a job. Again, there is no shame in waiting.

If you're an adult and have been managing well, there's no reason to believe your practical reality will change. We will lose our federal protections, but if you live in a covered state, or locality outside a red state, you will have recourse. As I said above, we've moved many people over the years; even with the fascists intent on making mischief, there is no reason to believe they'll be able to invade the cities anytime soon. But you've got to get out of the reddest of the Fascist States of America. I know moving is not easy for many, but your life is at risk. If you choose to stay be prepared to fight for your life.

You may choose to take a lower profile at work, or in the community. There's nothing wrong with that. Or you may choose to come out even more and resist the hate. That's even better, but if the choice was difficult before, it's even more so now because the risks are greater.

If you're African-American, you again have it harder than white folks. That's no surprise to you. Your refuge in blue cities isn't, nor has it ever been, much of a safe space. Intersectionality doesn't really leave you with much choice other than to stay closeted or fight. As one who leans to fighting I don't see that as an insurmountable problem, but I also don't have to deal with the resistance within my tribal community that black (and hispanic) trans women (and men) do.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating -- drop the microaggression posturing. If someone misgenders you, politely correct them and move on. Assume it was unintentional. If it wasn't, then it's not a micro problem, but a macro one. We're living with a constant, global macroaggression right now. The fascists are after more than an insult here or there. Get your priorities straight. If your friends or family get it wrong, don't expend your energy on fighting them. Work with them to build support and protect yourself.

Take the next few months to think things through, and make a plan. Make staying safe a priority. It's your life.

I wish it were otherwise. We were on a real roll. It would have been great to get a winning Grimm decision next spring, to solidify a decade of federal court rulings. It would have been great to be able to continue to depend on Titles VII and IX; in the Fascist States of America everyone will have to struggle for her civil rights. It would have been good had some of the trans leadership supported the community by educating them about their federal rights four years ago; at least then some could have taken advantage while that was still possible. Next year they'll be able to say, "Federal rights? What federal rights? We told you, you had no federal rights."

So stay safe, help one another, and know there are more strangers today on whose kindness you can count than there were even three years ago. Resist however best you can in the manner that works for you.