Trans Lives Under Trump

Antonette Summerville and José Valdivia

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Across the nation, thousands of LGBTQ+ supporters are protesting an executive order that attempts to establish a new, more stringent definition of gender identity: “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth,” claims the New York Times.

  Gender identity is not under the jurisdiction of a federal or state government. It is an individual right of expression that our founding fathers established in the Bill of Rights to protect against the government’s unnecessary control of the American people. As a pioneer of civil rights, we hope that California will lead the way in countering the federal government’s discriminatory actions against the trans community. In fact, our new governor, Gavin Newsom, championed same-sex marriage during his time as mayor of San Francisco.

  Under the Obama administration, there was significant expansion of transgender protection under civil rights laws. Obama even took steps to include the first two openly transgender appointed officials, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan and Shawn Skelly. This seemed like a monumental step forward within the trans community, one which would progress us further into equality.

  In a 2016 National Republican Convention, when Trump was still only a presidential candidate, he proudly announced, “as your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” Apparently, his way of protecting them from violence is to erase their identity under his own ideology.

  When a candidate goes back on their word after election, promising to protect the rights of minorities only to do the opposite, it is an absolute disgrace to our American rights and democracy.

  Not only that, but when the president behaves intolerantly, “he emboldens ignorant people’s beliefs that trans individuals do not deserve rights,” exclaimed director of LGBTQ Connection Sonoma Eliseo Rivas. Although disappointed, Rivas is “not surprised because [Trump] will do anything to maintain the status quo,” securing the rights of those who are already in power.

  One openly trans student at SVHS, sophomore Ashton Sagrero, fears the new order because “[he] is under 18” and “doesn’t have anything legally changed yet.” Under the new administration, Sagrero believes that it will be too difficult to change his name or legal gender at this point. He highlights that Trump’s decision is not just a simple re-definition, it is a “violation of human rights.”

  In times like these, youth, who represent the future of our country, must rally together to support our trans community and students. Sagrero believes that it can be something as simple as “respecting other people,” so that everyone can feel comfortable in their own body. Additionally, Rivas emphasized that students could “attend GSA meetings because that’s where people go to support and be supported.”