What a Trump presidency means for trans America
‘I cannot fathom what he and his supporters will have in store for us, and for all other minorities’
Just a day after the nation declared Donald Trump its President-elect, Debi Jackson, the owner and founder of transgender advocacy organization Gender Inc., and moderator of a private Facebook group for parents of transgender children, confirmed that there have already been a “few suicides and multiple suicide attempts” within the U.S. trans community.
LGBTQ crisis hotlines like the Trevor Project, have also reported a “record-breaking,” amount of calls in the 24 hours following election night. In a statement on Facebook, Trans Lifeline confirmed over 300 calls after the announcement.
When the transgender murder rate is at an all-time high – 24 confirmed deaths this year, the majority of those being people of color – there is a reason for widespread fear within the community.
A Trump/Pence presidency provides its own number of concerns. Trump is at best ambiguous on trans issues. In April, he said trans people should use the bathroom of their choosing. Then in July, he openly endorsed HB2 in North Carolina—a bill that strips away protections for a wide range of diverse identities, including trans people. Pence has passed legislation that allows businesses to refuse service to LGBT Americans, supports the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell,’ policy, opposes marriage equality, and suggested that LGBT rights constitute “societal collapse.”
I spoke with trans people across the country to gather their reactions to the news and how we as a country can move forward.
Jude, 25, Indiana
As far as my first reaction, I was in disbelief and terrified simultaneously. Mike Pence has been my governor and I’ve been lucky enough to live in a city that provides me protections from his religious freedom act, but his entire ideology terrifies me. Trump’s platform is based solely on bigotry and it’s terrifying that the American people loved it and him so much so that they chose him to run this country.
In regards to what this means for the future of the trans community, we have to continue fighting like hell. We have to watch over our siblings of color. We have to stick together. We have to be heard. We have to fight even though we are tired. We have to make sure people remember our lost siblings.
Zoe, 20, Ohio
I’m honestly petrified of what this means for the LGBTQA community. When I woke up to the news on Wednesday, I felt physically ill knowing that there is so much hatred, and ignorance in our country that we could elect someone who is inexperienced, egotistical and all in all a pretty cynical human being.
I’m afraid for my trans brothers and sisters who like me, are just beginning their transition. I cannot fathom what he and his supporters will have in store for us, and for all other minorities. I have never been more displeased with this county. We have made so much effort to move forward as a society and now it’s as if we just stepped back 20 years. It’s an insult to all of the pioneers who devoted their lives to see change in America, only to be let down yet again. All I know is we have no choice but to stick together during this time. We need each other more than ever. If it’s a war he wants with everyone who is not like him, trust me, it’s a war he will get.
Shannon, mother of a 12 year old trans boy, Washington
I just can’t even figure out what I’m thinking. My poor son is just beside himself with fear. He knows that Trump isn’t a support. He knows that Trump’s VP supports conversion therapy. He so afraid as to what this means for him. My two daughters are worried for their own reasons. A man who thinks that women are play things isn’t a very safe man to have in power now is it? In all this I’m trying keep a positive outlook. Letting them know that we can’t approach thisWith fear or name calling or blaming. But just with love. My kids keep trying to slam trump and keep letting them know that we may not like it respect him but we still treat him with love. Because love will eventually win. It’s only 4 years. We can all make it if we band together in love and peace and protect one another. But honestly, in my heart I’m afraid. I’m afraid for my son, my daughters, women, my friends who don’t fit the white cisgender male profile. I’m afraid, Audra.
Quinn, 24, Michigan
My initial reaction was a fear that I didn’t anticipate. I’m concerned for the safety of all minority groups. I think trans rights are going to be limited even further and any necessary medical treatment is going to be even harder to access. What I’m most worried about though, are Trump’s supporters. Their beliefs have been reinforced and solidified. They now think it’s acceptable to discriminate against minority groups and be outright hateful. I think we are in danger, but I believe that if all of us stick together we will be able to rise above all of the hate and continue on in the fight for our rights.
Koda, 19, Ohio
I have definitely been nervous throughout this entire election, for I knew many groups of people’s safety, rights, and lives were at stake. I knew a lot of people were leaning towards the Republican candidate and his words of hatred and ignorance, which became more unsettling as we moved toward election day. Since I’m only 19, this is my first time being able to vote. I drove to my small hometown and cast my vote alongside my mother and father. We all voted for Hillary. We were hopeful, we were excited, we wanted progression, we wanted our first woman president.
Last night I kept in touch with my mother, my girlfriend, and my sisters. When it was clear Trump was in the lead, I could hear the fear in their voices. My girlfriend is disappointed and angered. She doesn’t understand and I can’t say that I do either. My sisters worry for their children. But the person who is most distraught is my mother. She is the strongest, most grounded, person I know, yet she fears every day for my safety because I am transgender. She fears that that my basic human rights will be stripped, that discrimination will increase, and that my life could be taken.
I also spoke with my fellow trans brothers last night as well, and they were all beyond anxious and scared. They said things like:
“I fear for my life more than ever.”
“What if I don’t get to transition or get my surgeries?”
“I don’t want to be discriminated against more, I already live in fear.”
“I’m so scared man. I don’t want to die.”
When the presidential race ended last night, I didn’t have many words. I just kept looking at the divide of votes throughout the states and the amount of red I saw was alarming and saddening. It’s a slap in the face and a clear sign that the LGBTQ community, women, and minorities don’t matter.
I am one of the lucky ones, for I have a supportive family, already had my top surgery, and I am on hormone replacement therapy, but I fear for my brothers and sisters who do not have a support system, who are homeless, and those who don’t “pass” and are in constant fear of being physical harmed, sexually assaulted, or killed. This election has shown me that my efforts as a trans man and LGBT advocate have to increase, and I’m going to have to work more diligently to show the young LGBT youth that there is hope, that they DO matter, and the only emotion worth having is love. When ignorance, hatred, racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and classism are present, we have to continue to love and support one another unconditionally.