The lesbian, gay and bisexual community has often been bundled together with the transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) community, despite the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are different issues. Now their intertwined history of fighting for basic human rights, and present day allyship, provides a helpful blueprint for resisting the Trump administration.
Several thousand New Yorkers gathered for an emergency rally last Thursday to protest Donald Trump’s decision to remove hard-won nondiscrimination laws for TGNC students.
The White House issued a letter rescinding federal protections established under President Obama for TGNC students that allowed them to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender identify.
The rally was organized at short notice by a large and diverse list of local LGBTQ and social justice groups, including TransPAC, Black Trans Advocacy – NY, GLAAD, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, the Human Rights Campaign, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Planned Parenthood of New York City, Hispanic Federation, Immigration Equality, The Trevor Project, SAGE and Housing Works.
“[The] rally [will] make it clear that we will fight to keep protections for trans and gender non-conforming people and students,” the organizers stated on social media before the event. “The Trump-Pence Administration has rescinded important protections for trans students in schools. Let them know we will be heard, we will protect our TGNC community and we will fight for safe education for all.”
A letter issued jointly by the Justice and Education Departments criticized the original directive to extend the protections for disregarding the role of the states and social school districts to establish educational policy.
While Trump’s decision primarily impacts the TGNC community, the rally was attended by many lesbian, gay, bisexual and cisgender allies.
“I came out to support all transgender and LGBTQ people. I myself am gay…but I’m standing up for all of our rights. I don’t think what Trump is doing is right,” said Emily Rivera, a protester from Brooklyn.
Opponents of transgender bathroom rights believe that it may allow grown men to walk into woman’s bathrooms under the auspices of conforming to their gender identity. But Rivera says the issue is one of human rights.
“All we want is to use the bathrooms that we should be able to use,” she says.
Fellow protester Ikaika Glsen Regidor from New York, meanwhile, believes it is his duty as a human being to support anybody under attack from Trump’s presidency.
“I am here because trans students are under attack and it’s our job as people to defend and protect, those who are just trying to live and thrive. It’s my job to do that,” Regidor said.
Speakers at the rally echoed Rivera and Regidor’s messages of solidarity, assuring trans youth that the LGBTQ community will resist Trump’s decision to repeal the bathroom rights.