by Mahkyra Gaines, Kai Aprill-Tomlin, & Advocacy Team
Gender Justice League is a collective that creates multicultural programs for transgender, gender diverse, and racialized communities, and those who live in the intersection of all lived realities. We provide:
- Housing opportunities
- Political advocacy and education
- Resources that support dignified lives for individuals facing systemic violence
While there is much work to be done in our home state, Gender Justice League’s advocacy team recognizes that WA State’s history of LGBTQ+ solidarity gives us a responsibility to address national disparities impacting transgender and gender diverse populations across the country.
In this policy statement, we address the strategic and overwhelming amount of anti-trans legislation that has occurred across over at least 33 states, in the form of over 100 anti-trans bills.
The Human Rights Campaign has named the year 2021 as a record year for anti-trans legislation. Gender Justice League will show how institutional and systemic violence against LGBTQ+ communities work in conjunction and are intentional. We’ll address these connections, document the history of cissexist and heterosexist white supremacy that denies gender diverse communities access to things that help us lead full and free lives, including the right to gender-affirming healthcare, participation in sports, and the importance of education when engaging with political legislation.
What is Anti-Trans Legislation?
Anti-trans legislation is a political strategy to target trans and gender diverse people for discriminatory and life-ending motives. In the past, we have seen such policies create barriers to and criminalize gender-affirming medical care, the use of public restrooms, restriction of participation in sports, and block our ability to update identification documents that represent our name and gender. These tactics used by right-leaning politicians are fear-based, as seen with previous bathroom legislations in 2016 portraying trans women as “sexual predators” and criminals. Partnering with other organizers statewide, Gender Justice League effectively organized against these bills and garnered significant support by working with lawmakers, holding rallies, and talking to the media, and training others to do so—eventually seeing major financial backing from local corporations, which used their clout to support the defeat of the initiatives.
Since bathroom bills have largely failed, we are now experiencing a shift towards attacking some of our most vulnerable community members: trans youth.
Why Should Anti-Trans Legislation Be Stopped?
Gender Justice League’s advocacy team recognizes that the current 2021 wave of anti-trans legislation will increase the systemic oppression against trans people and escalate socio-political violence towards gender-diverse communities. Some of the reasons we see stopping this legislation as necessary include:
- There is no scientific evidence that supports political arguments that trans women have an advantage over cisgender women in sports. Again, no scientific evidence! The data cited by people pushing anti-trans legislation compares cisgender men to cisgender women. This rhetoric on “transgender dominance in athletic sports” can be traced back to Renée Richards, a transgender American tennis player, who had some success in the 1970s.
- Anti-trans bills fuel a stigma that leads to the murder of trans people, disproportionately Black and brown trans women.
- These bills further the marginalization of trans youth who are already at an elevated risk of suicide. Trans youth participation in team sports supports social transitioning and community acceptance.
- These bills serve to support white supremacy by political control of trans and cisgender bodies who do not fit the stereotypical norms of “womanhood” and “manhood.”
- This movement is largely eugenicist in that it seeks to stop people from being transgender.
- Lawmakers are creating more pathways for children to be unprotected from discrimination and violence, and expanding the policing of girl’s bodies.
- Trans participation in team sports is an opportunity for inclusion and to re-imagine the future of sports.
How Can We Support Trans Youth?
1. Educate yourself on trans experiences and histories, and share what you learn with others in your circles:
- Connect with the local trans community and learning spaces
- Read articles on trans experiences from a variety of trans authors
- Watch documentaries that properly represent the stories of trans youth
2. Stay up to date and advocate against anti-trans legislation:
- Chase Strangio’s annual anti-trans bill tracker
- More broadly, the ACLU tracks all introduced anti-LGBTQ+ policies
3. Support local organizations that cultivate support for trans and gender diverse communities, like Gender Justice League, WA Black Trans Task Force, and UTOPIA WA.