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7 Ways Cis People Can Support the Trans and GNC Community

7 Ways Cis People Can Support the Trans and GNC Community

7 Ways Cis People Can Support the Trans and GNC Community

Chase Strangio of the ACLU offers an updated list of action items to support the trans and GNC community.

2018 has been one of the most devastating years for transgender and gender nonconforming people in the past decade. Numerous attacks have been perpetrated against transgender individuals, from Trump's leaked memo attempting to erase protections for the transgender community, to the 22 transgender individuals, almost entirely transgender women of color, who were murdered this year alone.

On Transgender Day of Remembrance, cis people should not only honor the lives of the transgender individuals taken from us, but also look for ways to support the transgender and nonbinary community that go beyond empty platitudes and virtue signaling. While there may not be a pivotal election in the near future, there are other actions cisgender allies can take, besides voting, to fight against the current administration.

With the midterm elections over, Chase Strangio, a staff attorney at the ACLU, provided OUT with an updated list of action items for anyone who wants to support the trans community. From reframing public discourse to decriminalizing sex work, these are clear actions we can take to support our transgender and gender nonconforming community.

1. Focus on state legislation. While Trump may be making headlines, we can't focus all our attention on the federal level. Most state legislation will be convening January 2019. In the past three years, we've seen hundreds of bills targeting the transgender community at the state level. It's necessary to stop these bills, like North Carolina's HB2, before they become law.

a.) Action item: Go to committee hearings, call your reps, and write in letters. Lawmakers need to hear from their constituents. While it's necessary to center trans voices, they can't be the only ones speaking out. Lawmakers need to understand they have support from allies in their districts.

2. Pay attention to the Supreme Court. It's necessary to pay attention to all branches of government -- anyone who creates laws. Right now, SCOTUS is determining whether to take two huge cases relating to transgender individuals. The first case is assessing whether federal law prohibiting employment discrimination includes trans people. (This is exactly what Trump proposed in his leaked memo.) In the second case, cisgender students have sued their school for having inclusive transgender policies, arguing that they have a constitutional right to not share space with trans people.

a.) Action item: Paying attention to the courts, educating communities, and writing pieces in your local newspaper explaining that the existence of trans people in no way hurts or for that matter truly affects anyone else. We need public discourse to send a message to all branches of government that trans people have support and love from all over. That, Stangio made clear, impacts legislation.

3. Contribute to trans-led organizations and individuals. Many of our most prominent national organizations are not led by trans or nonbinary people, and therefore do not always prioritize these fights in the ways or with the resources they deserve. You can find trans-led organizations at both the national and local level (this is just a sample list).

a.) Action item: Donate (time or money), follow, and signal boost organizations like: Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Audre Lorde Project, Casa Ruby, FIERCE, Trans Latin@ Coalition, Trans Lifeline, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Southerners on New Ground, Organizacion Latina de Trans En Texas (OLTT), Trans Law Center. For more comprehensive lists, visit: Trans Justice Funding Project and Borealis Philanthropy's Fund for Trans Generations.

b.) Action item: Donate money to individual crowdsourcing campaigns. A number of transgender people use sites like "Gofundme" when they're unable to pay their rent or medical care. If you have the means, help these individuals directly.

4. Contribute to bailout funds. So much of this kind of systemic discrimination means that trans people, especially those of color, are policed and incarcerated. Bail is often set higher for transgender individuals. Part of how judges calculate bail has to do with the defendant's support system-- this includes having a family, children, a stable job, and being in school -- all areas where transgender folks experience discrimination. When one has bail set higher and is unable to get out, it's way more likely they're going to have a worse outcome in their criminal case.

a.) Action item: Donate to bailout funds like: Bronx Freedom Fund, The Lorena Borjas Community Fund, Massachusetts Bail Fund, Chicago Bail Fund, Tranzmission Prison Project, TGIJP.

b.) Action item: Donate to funds supporting trans immigrants. A list can be found here.

5. Help reform laws that criminalize sex work, drug use, and addiction. The trans community disproprotionately rely on criminalized economies for survival because they don't have the same access to the regulated market.

a.) Action item: Become knowledgeable of bills and laws like FOSTA-SESTA and fight for the decriminalization and legalization of sex work and drug use. It's also necessary to create spaces that promote safety for sex workers.

6. Reframe the conversation around trans people, transness, and gender in public discourse. The dialogue around trans people currently has to do with whether trans people exist, deserve medical care, or if trans rights are in line with feminim. These are all false premises. Trans people exist, need healthcare, and are in line with feminism. There is no question.

a.) Action item: The way to reframe the conversation is to talk about gender as a system and implicating everyone in that system. There are numerous ways people are seen as "gender traitors" or seen as being devious to their gender. Gender identity affects everyone, not just transgender individuals. Gender policing is a way for cisgender -- particularly white cisgender men -- to retain societal power by demonizing people who don't perform gender "correctly." We need to remember that there's no science behind the Trump administration's narratives, just a set of discriminatory political goals.

7. Hire trans people. There's a public notion that trans people are somehow disruptive or a burden to the workplace. This simply isn't true. It's necessary for companies to bring trans people into their workspaces, not in a tokenizing way, but in a meaningful manner where hiring trans people actually improve the nature of the work.

a.) Action item: Plain and simple: hire more trans folks and talk to your bosses about creating a more inclusive team. When searching for hires, prioritize finding qualified trans and gender nonconforming individuals.

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