Other than virtue signaling, how can you actually resist the Trump administration? In addition to voting on November 6 in the midterm elections, what else can you do to help the transgender community, larger LGBTQ community, and all the vulnerable minority groups Trump throws under the bus on a daily basis?
I know these are questions that many members of our community have asked themselves, and The Phluid Project took a big first step in their attempt to address these issues.
For those who aren't familiar with the Phluid Project, it is a gender-free shopping experience; an unapologetically authentic lifestyle brand and community center. Inspired by identity and expression, The Phluid Project exists to empower individuals to be themselves and express themselves openly, without judgement or fear.
Teaming up with the MAC AIDS Fund, the Phluid Project hosted a panel on Tuesday (October 23) with six transgender and gender nonbinary activists to discuss what we, as a community and as allies, can do to better assist the trans/non binary community in their time of need.
The panel included Bradley Miller, Carmen Carrera, Mila Jam, Dominique Castelano, Jeremy Moineau, and Dee TrannyBear.
The panelists covered a range of topics, from times they experienced discrimination in the workplace, to how they feel about Trump's latest attempt to erase transgender people, to dating and family relationships.
"I thought here we go again," Carmen Carrera said when asked how she felt upon hearing the news that the Trump administration plans to remove transgender folks from Title IX protections. "And it made me think, what is it about the trans community that makes them want to target us?"
The model and activist continued, "The majority of people still believe there's only male and female. They're so stuck in that thinking. And why does it get people so riled up? Because if you're cisgender, you can't relate to how we think. We're fighting to just be understood."
"So why are cis people setting the rules? Why are you telling me how to identify? Why isn't the [Trump administration] doing their job? The job of the president is to take care of the people. It's not to tell people how to live!"
"I think we have one person in our life who makes us feel empowered, enlightened, and helps process our emotions," Bradley Miller added on. "In my life, it's my mother, but it's also my trans and gender nonconforming friends."
"Because historically, trans and gender nonconforming people have been revered in our communities as enlightened and spiritual beings, and when the darkness is trying to extinguish the light, they go for the brightest part, and the strongest people from LGBTQ history and Stonewall were people of color who had a trans and nonbinary experience."
These are just a few quotes from a much larger conversation. The panelists also delved into times they were discriminated against in the workplace for being transgender, but also how they grew stronger from their negative experiences.
Dating while trans was another topic the panelists addressed. Mila Jam noted that transgender women are often treated like queens behind closed doors, but many cis men are afraid to take trans women out in public spaces or to introduce them to their friends.
Carmen's ex boyfriend, who's now a close friend of hers, was at the panel. He spoke about he was and continues to be ridiculed by his friends and family for having dated Carmen.
After the hour-long panel, it was clear that audience members not only felt supported knowing that the trans community is filled with love for one another, but also motivated to share the experiences of the panelists with those out in the world -- to take what they said and have these tough conversations with Trump supporting family members and others who don't hold the same viewpoints.
In the end, the whole experience was a lesson in resistance, and how we, as a community, can come together to help support our trans and gender nonbinary brothers and sisters.