Half the World May Want Me in a Grave, but I Ain’t Digging It

not gonna dig my own grave

I’m not an activist by nature, and I don’t love the idea of being forced into activism. But the sudden and violent attack on transgender rights – things like, you know, the right to exist – doesn’t leave me much choice.

Is my day-to-day life affected by this ignorant tsunami of hate-based legislation? Yes and no.

No, in that I live in California, so I don’t think I’ll be dragged off to a reeducation camp any time soon, and I don’t feel like I’m likely to suffer a violent attack in the circles I travel in. I am surrounded by Trumpites here in the desert, though, so I can’t say something bad could never happen.

Yes, in that this awful shitstorm affects all trans people everywhere. The Republican-led states are trying to normalize the eradication of trans people, and once they do that — listen, I won’t compare what’s happening to trans people to other holocausts that have happened in the past 100 years, but the signs are all there. They are dehumanizing us, and that’s the first step to (yeah, I’m going to say it) genocide.

Oh, my! Genocide! Hannah, you crazy!

Maybe. I’m always open to the possibility. But until they come for you, it’s hard to understand how it feels. And they are coming for trans people. Every day. And they’ll never (voluntarily) stop.

I heard a podcast recently with a conversation between Brene Brown and diversity, equity, and inclusion expert Aiko Bethea. They said all the things you’d expect to hear in a conversation about diversity, but they also said something profound:

“Once you recognize there’s a system, you’re either actively supporting it or actively dismantling it.”

Right? I’ve tried to live by that idea, so I thought I would write a post in my work Slack for the Trans Day of Visibility on March 31st. I mean, I did write a post, but then I ran it by a colleague, and they were like, “Yeah, you know, maybe not.” Because you can’t talk about being trans today without talking about politics.

The company I work for has a “no political discussion” rule, and I agree with it. It’s painful that my right to exist has been made political, but here we are. The “no-politics” rule does help keep our workplace civil.

But on the other hand, statistics tell me that I probably work with more than a hundred people who would gladly vote to eliminate me, so it doesn’t feel good to know that but not be able to say anything to try to change their minds.

If I make a post that doesn’t address the system that’s trying to take away my right to exist, I’m actively supporting that system. So I can’t make a post at work.

But I can make it here!

This is what I wanted to say to my coworkers on the Trans Day of Visibility:

Today is the annual Trans Day of Visibility, so hi.

One or two years ago, I would have written about how much better life is becoming for transgender people everywhere. About how much more acceptance we’re feeling and that many states, regions, and countries are passing laws and making changes that make it easier for us to live our lives.

But life is becoming more dangerous for transgender people everywhere, so today’s Trans Day of Visibility message has to be different.

Here’s why:

There has been more legislation targeting the fundamental human rights of the trans and gender-diverse community introduced in recent months than in the last few decades.

Things like:

    • Denying access to gender-affirming—AKA life-saving—healthcare and forcing trans people to de-transition.
    • Taking away our ability to exist in public spaces (and use bathrooms safely).
    • Controlling how people raise their children.
    • Making it impossible to change our legal documents and pronouns and reverting documents that have already been changed.

Did you know:

    • In 13 United Nations member countries, it is illegal to be transgender.
    • In America, more than 400 pieces of legislation have been proposed in the first two months of this year that would essentially deny trans people the right to exist.
    • The UK government is weaponizing trans issues on the back of years of transphobic media coverage.

Illegal to be transgender. Think about that. Imagine if countries around the world passed laws making brown hair illegal. If you have brown hair, you’d probably say, “Wait a minute, how can you do that? I was born with brown hair!” That’s how trans people feel about the increasingly restrictive and harmful governmental interference in our lives.

If you believe in equality (or our right to exist), you can be an ally! If you ever have the opportunity to influence or vote on anti-trans legislation, vote in favor of the rights of your fellow humans. Say ‘no’ to hate and vote for love, life, and humanity.

The attack on transgender people is a human rights issue. We should all be able to live safe and happy lives. So vote when you can, and make the world safe for people who need your help and protection. Thanks for reading!


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