The Supreme Court's decision on Monday to vacate the lower court’s ruling in Gavin Grimm’s transgender bathroom case left many in the trans community rightfully disheartened and scared. Since President Trump has rolled back the protective transgender initiatives set out by the Obama administration, which the lower court partially relied on when ruling in favor of Grimm, the outcome is unclear for the second time around.
Model Carmen Carrera, who will appear in Outpost, an upcoming docuseries produced by HBO and Fusion where she chronicles her time as an activist in the Latin and trans communities, has become a prominent voice in the fight for trans equality. In her show, airing May 9, Carrera will notably spend time adovcating in Brazil, a country that shares the largest gay pride parade in the world with the highest trans murder rate.
Having followed Grimm's case since its fledgling stages, Carrera shared with OUT her hopes for the future of a transgener movement under the Trump administration.
OUT: What do you think about the Supreme Court's decision to send Gavin Grimm’s case back to the lower courts?
Carmen Carrera: Obama was really the only president to embrace transgender people. I really felt secure with everything that was going on under his administration—there was a sense of pride.
Gavin Grimm’s case came about and Trump had made a couple of comments about it being a state issue more than a federal issue, and I disagree. It’s not about bathrooms, it’s about being equal to everyone else. When it involves students and your government is basically saying we aren’t equal, we shouldn’t be able to function like everyone else, it sends a powerfully negative message. These kids are relying on us to set the tone for their future.
It’s been a bit like a rollercoaster—they ruled in favor of Gavin in the lower courts citing Obama’s protections, but with the rollback, does it feel like we’re losing momentum?
Not at all. So many more people are understanding what is actually happening within the government. Even with my group of friends, the more we follow this case, the more we are actually learning, actually seeing what’s wrong and how we’re being robbed of our civil rights.
I feel like this is the time more than ever to stand up for each other and be allies to this community. All we want is to be seen as equal, feel protected, and not feel segregated. Everyone in this country should have equal rights to function and blossom. It’s bad enough that being trans stigmatizes you, now you have the federal government saying they won’t support us.
What do you think the next big hurdle for the transgender community is?
It starts with this. It starts with us being able to share space with people apart from religious beliefs and personal views on accepting trans people. Using a bathroom is one thing, but being able to find work, being protected from being fired for being trans—that’s something that still hasn’t been addressed. We want protection. We need more protection outside of the bathroom. We need protection to be able to go to school, find work and to really thrive.