By Ash Marie Havlin (They, Them, Theirs), Portland, Maine
In recent weeks, the lives of transgender people have been put on the stage of national debate. The Trump administration has been pushing forward several initiatives to take protections away from gender variant people, ultimately with the intention of legislating our identities out of existence. These attempted measures are more than simply offensive, but have real measurable impacts.
Throughout Trumps presidency, I have felt my fear as a trans person growing. The prolonged stares I receive in the grocery store or walking down the sidewalk, which are likely just curious looks about my gender, have felt less tolerable and more painful. Using public bathrooms, like in restaurants or at concerts, has felt less tolerable and more dangerous. I have found myself spending more time avoiding public spaces entirely actually. Opting out of these opportunities, for the more consistent safety I find in my community, like Maine Trans Net- a trans support network and educational organization.
I say this not to promote public disengagement, but to reiterate the real consequences that political attacks take on our personal lives and to reiterate the resilience of trans Mainers.
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to celebrate and grieve all the trans folks who have been lost to anti-transgender violence. I include all those lost to transgender suicide in my remembrance as well, as we know that a staggering 48% of transgender people will attempt suicide.
There are countless actions that cisgender people can do to support the trans community in this time and I have listed 3 below:
1. READ about the long history of transgender discrimination and resistance.
2. LISTEN deeply and actively to the trans people you know.
3. EXPLORE your own gender. Cisgender people have a gender identity too and by acknowledging that you help breakdown cisnormativity!