By: Samuel Smith, Columnist
President Donald Trump’s administration began to consider making the definition of gender “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,” according to The New York Times on Oct. 21.
As a transgender man, this is terrifying. Gender is so much more than what the doctor sees at birth. For me, I was assigned female, but I’ve known for a long time that I’m a guy. It’s dangerous for me, a man, to have an F on my birth certificate, social security card and driver’s license. This little F has caused discrepancies in my healthcare. It has caused pharmacists to give me side eyes when I go to pick up my testosterone. And it’s just plain wrong. I’m not female, I’m male, in spirit and in body.
Transgender people have always existed. We’ve existed across cultures, with various ways of identifying ourselves. Discrimination has not stopped us before, and it will not stop us now. We exist. We’re here. We’re not going away.
Let me be clear: it’s already difficult to be trans. We’re discriminated against. We’re bullied. We’re harassed. Society has already made it clear that trans folks are “other.” By legally denying our existence, it makes it more difficult for transgender people to simply exist. Legal protections give us the grounds for easier action when we are harassed, discriminated against and even when violence is directed toward us.
So what do we do? That’s a question I’ve been turning in my head for awhile now. Sometimes I just want to ignore the fact the world is falling apart around me. I want to pretend everything is a-okay and sit on the couch catching up on Netflix. But we can’t do that. Legal action can begin to be taken against us, and it’s time to stand up. Donating to organizations such as the Trans Lifeline or The Trevor Project is a good way to quietly show support if you’re not out. Calling out your transphobic father, uncle, mother, sister, whomever, when they’re transphobic is also great. Find local trans or LGBTQ+ organizations that meet when you can join. Call, write, and email your representatives and make sure they know that you, a voting American, can and will assist in voting them out of office if they go along with this memo. Put pressure on your representatives to make change.
Finally, simply be visible if it’s safe (Towson is safe). Being openly trans will show that we exist, we’ve always existed. If you’re an ally, make it clear that you’re an ally. Listen to our stories. We simply can’t and won’t be erased, no matter how much people want us to be.