The Trump administration is working on a plan to severely narrow the legal definition of gender, according to a report in The New York Times on Sunday.
The proposed policy, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, would define gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable,” meaning it would define gender as either male or female as determined by genitalia at birth. Any dispute about an individual’s gender would require genetic testing. This would have major repercussions for the transgender and gender nonconforming communities ― particularly in regard to health care.
Roughly 1.4 million Americans identify as transgender, and as of 2017, violence against this community is on the rise.
Since the Trump plan was revealed, protesters have been gathering online ― often using the hashtag #WontBeErased ― and in person around the country. On Sunday night, several hundred people gathered in Washington Square Park in New York City.
But there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure the trans and gender nonconforming communities are protected. Here are some ways you can help:
You’ve likely seen people coming out in droves to encourage others to vote; it’s one of the most important things you can do as an American. Casting ballots at the federal, state and local levels affects transgender rights. Check Vote.org for ways to promote turnout in your area. Call your friends and family members nearby to go to the polls with you, and remind those in other states to vote too.
Being an ally isn’t just patting your trans or nonbinary friends on the back or retweeting them occasionally. It’s about respect and fighting for their rights. The first step to being a good ally is educating yourself on the basics — knowing someone’s pronouns, avoiding stereotypes and learning what policies in government directly affect the trans and gender nonconforming communities. You can find a primer on those issues and more here.
Promote helpful resources and trans-led organizations
While many “prominent national organizations are not led by trans or nonbinary people,” many are and need help on both the national and local levels. Some of those organizations, according to Out magazine are: Audre Lorde Project, Casa Ruby, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Fierce, Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas, Southerners on New Ground, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Trans Latin@ Coalition, Trans Law Center and Trans Lifeline. More comprehensive lists can be found at the Trans Justice Funding Project and Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations.
Sharing numbers like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), the Trevor Project at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) and Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 can be immensely helpful for those in crisis.
Share the work of trans activists and journalists
Groups like Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the Transgender Law Center are legal organizations that ofter extensive information about trans rights and policies that affect them. Keep an eye on their social media pages to see if they’re holding events you can take part in or to share their messaging.
Additionally, sharing the work of trans and gender nonconforming journalists helps spread the messaging being put out by the community for the community. Too often, work about the trans community is written by people who are not members of that community ― which can be completely OK, as long as it’s done correctly. This piece in Them does an excellent job of explaining the problem with media organizations not hiring trans reporters to cover trans issues.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story suggested the organizations recommended by Out were not led by trans or nonbinary people.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place