For trans people, America has become a place to flee

The text of a trusted friend in the transgender community, someone I had known since before either of us came out, was blunt and succin...


The text of a trusted friend in the transgender community, someone I had known since before either of us came out, was blunt and succinct: she and her family are fleeing the United States.

She says the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade signaled that the time to run had come, especially given all the cards already stacked against us: laws and policies prohibiting gender-affirming care and ban trans student athletes of sport, legislators once again targeting our use of public restroomsand a new poll showing that most Americans think we’re not really the kind we say we are.

That’s not even all. The conservative shift in the Supreme Court and the growing expectation that congressional Democrats will lose their tight grip on power in this fall’s midterm elections have also been factors. According to my friend, the best option was to move her family to Canada now, before the situation got worse.

And it’s getting worse and worse. But can we describe all this animosity as violence?

Opponents of several bills targeting transgender youth attend a rally at the Alabama State House on March 30, 2021 in Montgomery.
Opponents of several bills targeting transgender youth attend a rally at the Alabama State House on March 30, 2021 in Montgomery.

Julie Bennett via Getty Images

In 2019, the American Medical Association took a public stand against what he called “the epidemic of violence against the transgender community, particularly the heightened physical dangers faced by transgender people of color”, and the discrimination faced by LGBTQ people in general . It’s only gotten worse since.

When the toll of murdered trans people mounted at 19most women, most blacks ― and the year is only half over, it’s violence. This number in 2021 was 57; the year before it was 44.

When the FBI’s Most Recent National Hate Crimes Figures (2019) show an increase in attacks based on gender identity year on year, that’s violence. There have been 227 such attacks this whole year – and while they only accounted for 2.7% of all hate crimes in 2019, that’s still 175 Americans attacked just because they’re trans , and 52 others for identifying as non-binary or gender non-conforming. Compare that to 2013, the first year the FBI tracked gender identity bias, when the number of victims was just 33 and gender identity bias crimes accounted for just 0.5 % of all hate crimes. It gets worse.

When I’m against TERFs while doing my job as a journalist, and they challenge me about the toilets I use and the fact that I consider myself a mother is also violence. I came face to face with nine women and the father of a swimmer who lost to NCAA champion DI Lia Thomasand even though no one has put their finger on me, i haven’t felt bullied like this since i was surrounded in a schoolyard and beaten for who i am.

When death threats arrive in the mailbox outside my home and they fill my voicemail and social media direct messages — all because I dare to write about issues affecting our community and that I argue that trans women are women―that’s violence too.

When I wear a “Protect Trans Kids” t-shirt at a festival in my hometown, and a white nationalist takes me in the facefirst demanding that I prove on January 6 the insurrection actually happened and then threatened to kill me, this is most definitely violence.

When a Conservative member of my city human rights commission argues in public meeting that trans rights are “special rights”, and when fanatics oppose program that offers ‘social and emotional learning’ ― a program that teaches children that it’s okay to be different ― that’s violence.

And when a parent tells me they’d rather call my trans daughter by her birth name and then abuse her saying, “That’s who and how we’ve known her all her life,” that’s also abuse. .

I don’t really need you to agree with me that anti-transgender laws and court rulings invalidating bodily autonomy are forms of violence. I’m the one living it, and I’m not the only one.

Maybe that’s the root of it all. Most people seemed to be okay with the spectacle of famous trans people stepping out and living their lives in the spotlight: tennis player-turned-ophthalmologist Dr. RenĂ©e Richards, former child star Chaz Bono, actress Laverne Cox, Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, TV reporters Eden Lane and Ina Fried, “Survivor” contestants Zeke Smith and Jackson Fox, “Big Brother” contestant Audrey Middleton, All-American athlete Chris Mosier and actor Elliot Page, to name a few.

But when our neighbours, loved ones and ― Oh no! ― even our children have started to turn trans, in ever-increasing numbers, which seems to be when many people, especially those on the right, have gone from being a curiosity to an existential and ideological threat.

And what politician doesn’t like to grab a misunderstood amount and turn it into a rallying cry for their base? We’re the aliens about to take over the world in countless sci-fi movies, the monsters from “Godzilla” movies ready to wreak havoc on the city, the communists of the 1950s hiding in plain sight and seeking to destroy the American way of life. We are, to these people, perverts, pedophiles and groomers, and in Texas, any parent or medical professional who takes care of a trans child is considered a pedophile. It’s a violence of a kind that is beyond reason, beyond fixation, I’m afraid.

Lia Thomas, left, of the University of Pennsylvania, steps on the podium after winning the 500-meter freestyle while fellow medalists Emma Weyant, Erica Sullivan and Brooke Forde pose for a photo, March 17, 2022, in Atlanta .
Lia Thomas, left, of the University of Pennsylvania, steps on the podium after winning the 500-meter freestyle while fellow medalists Emma Weyant, Erica Sullivan and Brooke Forde pose for a photo, March 17, 2022, in Atlanta .

Justin Casterline via Getty Images

I sat in horror at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta last March as moms, dads and coaches stopped in their cheers for the incredible competitors to boo a young woman. Lia Thomas didn’t win it all, but she competed fairly, and even now she’s still reviled, targeted, and misinterpreted.

The backlash from his success in the pool has led sports agencies to enact new policies that will ban other trans athletes from competing in future events. We may have seen the first and last transgender Olympians in our lifetimes. And when opponents of trans inclusion suggest creating a “trans-only” league or contest, or requiring trans athletes to compete only in the gender they were presumed to be at birth, it is surely to violence.

“I support trans people, but it’s different when it comes to sports” ― is something you’ll hear many so-called allies say about it. Substitute another term in there and see how it sounds. “I support black people, but it’s different when it comes to sports.” “I support gay people, but it’s different when it comes to sports.” “I support Latinx, Jews, Muslims, women…but IIt’s different when it comes to sports.

Different How? ‘Or’ What? Do they mean that this is “acceptable discrimination?” Yes, I heard that too. It is violence, because no discrimination should ever be “acceptable”.

This is where America is heading as we prepare to celebrate our Independence Day and bid farewell to another Pride Month. Rainbow flags and logos will be removed, boxed and set aside for another year, while our rights will be reduced, compromised and erased.

My friend and her family―including her trans son―will soon be moving north of the border. My queer family and I will stay to fight, for now. But my duty as mom is to protect them at all costs, so we may run away too. Not out of fear, or even the threat of ever-increasing violence against our species, but because I want them to live in a place where they can find joy, have a family of their own, and live in peace.

I fear that the United States is no longer a place for transamericans, given the current trajectory. It’s probably the most violent thing of all.



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Newsrust - US Top News: For trans people, America has become a place to flee
For trans people, America has become a place to flee
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