Discrimination has a long and sordid history in the world, and the United States of America embedded it into its very foundation. Woven intricately into the Constitution, a group of men set out to create a new world that would reflect an old one for centuries to come. While proclaiming democracy, women and persons of color were purposely left out. Men sought a government by the people and for the people, as long as those people weren’t women or minorities.
The arrival of slave ships in 1619 upon the shores of what would one day become America, the fate of black people in this newfound world was set in stone long before the Bill of Rights were written. The rights of women were also omitted from protection in this great experiment in democracy. It would take 15 Amendments to the Constitution before black men gained permission to vote and 19 Amendments before women would have the right to vote in the ‘free and fair’ elections of their country.
The fight for equality is not new, nor is it passive. It has been a continual thread woven into the tapestry of every stripe and every star on America’s flag. The battles may have looked different over time, but their significance remains unchanged. The right to exist, freely and with autonomy has never been afforded to all citizens. Just as our forefathers had to wage war to reach liberation, women and people of color would have to resort to an uprising of protests and marches for things to change.
While glimmers of hope have periodically spilled over into the turmoil, America has yet to live up to its full potential. The last six years have resulted in numerous steps backwards. 2021 would end with 19 states enacting 33 new laws to make voting more difficult for citizens. Among the most outrageous was a bill enacted in Georgia that makes it illegal to give water or food to anyone standing in line to vote. The ridiculous has become the norm in America, and this is a mere sampling.
On this Trans Day of Visibility & Awareness it is important to spotlight the trend seeking to strip Americans of their right to pursue happiness and obtain liberty. In 2022, 278 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community became law. Just when everyone was certain things couldn’t get worse, 2023 came rolling in and with it over 120 new bills seeking to restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ persons. 120 new bills in the first 3 months a new year! You can find a comprehensive list by state here: https://www.aclu.org/legislative-attacks-on-lgbtq-rights .
Targeting the freedom of speech and expression, states are banning books in droves and working to eliminate drag shows. Claiming a multitude of ridiculous reasons, including the indoctrination of children, making white students feel bad, and insisting a ‘woke’ society will lead us all into damnation, the extreme right is trying to legislate the transgender community out of existence.
Texas tried to enact a law that would remove transgender youth from their parents custody, declaring their support and love for their kids was abuse. Thus far, this has been blocked by the courts, but the Texas legislature hasn’t given up.
In February of this year, Iowa introduced Bill HF 190, which seeks to strike gender identity from the states civil rights act. Governor Reynolds supports it and has pledged to pass legislation to remove materials referencing LGBTQ+ persons and policies protecting students who choose to socially transition without parental consent, from Iowa schools. Representative Jeff Shipley agreed, stating that “Mental illness should not be accommodated as a civil right,” as though a person’s nonconformity is a disease to be irradicated.
Man’s incessant need to categorize and label humans has done nothing more than create a larger perceived hierarchy that leads nowhere. Insisting anyone’s gender has a direct impact on someone else’s livelihood or freedoms is as ridiculous as Governor Desantis’ mission to outlaw the teaching of actual, fact-based history in the classrooms of Florida.
Gender itself is so much more physiological than physical and no amount of proof will satisfy those hell bent on making the entire world about themselves. The ideal of superiority has never led anyone or any nation to a place of good. Dictated and expected gender roles have always been the great divide among societies, past and present. The perpetual reach for power and control has crumbled more societies than natural disasters.
Being trans is not a new concept, nor the latest fad or rebellion. It is also not going away, just because it makes you uncomfortable. No law can dictate how physiology actually works, and hatred will never bring you to a place of peace.
Transgender individuals are sexually assaulted at a 66% greater rate than nontrans people with 13% of transgender youth reporting they were sexually assaulted by a peer or educator in the K-12 setting. Overall, Transgender persons are four times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than cisgender, and this number increases for trans persons of color. Americans should be appalled by these numbers, not seeking to further place our children in harms way.
Regardless of who wears a dress or who puts on trousers, it has zero impact on how anyone else lives their life. Trans people are not here to indoctrinate your children, they too are someone’s child. As we’ve strived to highlight in our recent series on The Gender of Justice, the incessant need for government to dictate and legislate their personal views on morality are not new, but they certainly don’t deserve a comeback. There is no greater threat to mankind than a government hellbent on controlling morality.
The word ‘freedom’ may not actually exist in the United States Constitution, but its ideal still runs deep in the blue veins of all its people. As we find our way down this ever-winding road, may we remember we are indeed one people and freedom itself is quite fragile.