| National March to Protect Trans Youth in Orlando Florida on Oct 7 2023 Photo Lexi Webster CCR | MR Online National March to Protect Trans Youth in Orlando, Florida, on Oct. 7, 2023. (Photo: Lexi Webster / CCR)

Cisgender activists speak: Why is supporting trans rights important?

Originally published: Struggle-La Lucha on June 1, 2024 by Andre Powell (more by Struggle-La Lucha)  | (Posted Jun 05, 2024)

A mere decade after the Stonewall Rebellion, as the LGBTQIA+ community was winning some victories, the right wing began mobilizing to take them away. It began in Dade County, Florida, as former Miss America Anita Bryant led a campaign called “Save Our Children.”

Dade County had recently passed a law that added sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination protections. The goal of Save Our Children was to collect enough signatures to force a recall referendum at the next election to overturn the decision. They were successful at wiping away the gay rights ordinance.

Then the right-wing political operatives went into action and waged similar successful efforts, overturning newly won gay rights laws around the country. The political right had created a new weapon.

The LGBTQIA+ community began organizing itself around the country. Two national marches were held in 1979 and 1987. The second march in 1987 was held amid the HIV/AIDS health crisis which had killed nearly 100,000 gay men. Over 750,000 LGBTQIA+ people and allies marched on Washington, D.C., under the banner, “For Love and For Life, We’re Not Going Back.” Following this march, organizing efforts mushroomed, gaining anti-discrimination protections from coast to coast.

Another political fight by the right wing began as the LGBTQIA+ community was winning the right to same-sex marriage. It had the same forces from the earlier battles in the 1970s, putting forth millions of dollars to push back against marriage equality. It was the organizing by the queer community which forced the Supreme Court to rule on the side of marriage equality during this reactionary period.

After this defeat, the right wing regrouped with all its money and began attacking the transgender community. First trying to deny trans people the right to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity. Secondly, harkening back to the days of Anita Bryant, they went after the rights of trans children to be able to get the gender-affirming medical treatment necessary to transition. From one state to another, using their money and bigotry, right-wing politicians have put forward several hundred bills to attack trans rights to equality.

Transgender activists, along with non-trans LGBTQIA+ community members, banded together to fight back against this latest onslaught. It began in Orlando, Florida, with a march on Oct. 7, 2023, against bigoted Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Protect Trans Kids March brought forces from all over the country to raise their voices and take a stand against the bigots, their laws, and their money.

While the trans community took the lead in organizing, the non-trans queer community was right there to reinforce our siblings in the fight for justice. It is absolutely imperative that the cisgender queer community stand up to the vicious money and power of the bigots who are targeting our siblings. After all, to attack one part of our community is to attack the entire community.

Our enemies are united against us, but our strength is in our own unity. The LGBTQIA+ community will not be pitted against each other by right-wing bigots, no matter how much money and power they have. The ultimate victory will be the abolition of capitalism, which will eliminate the material conditions that breed hatred and oppression.

LGBTQIA+ people and allies will once again face down the bigots this Oct. 19, 2024, at a march and rally called by the Coalition to Protect Trans Lives in Columbus, Ohio.

| Sharon Black Women In StruggleMujeres En Lucha Unemployed Workers Union | MR OnlineSharon Black, Women In Struggle/Mujeres En Lucha, Unemployed Workers Union

First, I am very proud that Women In Struggle/Mujeres En Lucha, a working-class, anti-imperialist women’s group, not only supports trans rights but includes trans women in our membership and leadership. With very little resources and support, we helped to organize the Oct. 7 National March to Defend Trans Kids in Orlando and spearheaded an LGBTQ-Two Spirit solidarity delegation to learn about Cuba’s work around the “Families Code.”

We are a broad working-class group of women of all nationalities. Each of us comes to our organization with our own special oppressions, whether it is based on white supremacy, as immigrants, as low-wage or no-wage workers. And this includes the special oppression of trans women. Our strength has been our unity, our recognition of our different oppressions, and our fight against capitalism.

Secondly, it’s critical that the entire working class see through the diabolical and vicious campaign by the far right against trans people, women, men and nonbinary.

There isn’t a day that you don’t see some derogatory lie against trans people posted on one social media or the other. The purpose is to whip up prejudice and backwardness–essentially to distract workers from the real enemies–the trillion-dollar capitalist class, their banks and war machine.

I would say to every cisgender person like myself, “Don’t take the bait.” It doesn’t matter what you don’t understand. Trans people are our sisters, brothers, siblings, friends, coworkers and neighbors. They are not hiking up prices on food and housing, closing schools and workplaces, taking away our rights to make decisions about our own bodies, or paying us slave wages.

The bottom line is: Respect trans people’s right to live! Something that is being threatened every minute.

Finally, it’s not just the far right. The “liberal establishment,” specifically the Democratic Party, can’t be let off the hook. They have stood by and basically done nothing–using trans rights as a political football to be pulled out during election time or ignored. It’s like turning your back on what amounts to violence and death for trans people.

And, I have to say with anger, let’s not forget the so-called left and progressives who have been far too timid in acting to defend trans rights. Maybe it’s hard to stand up to bigotry, but make no mistake: If you can’t do this, how can you be counted on to defend the entire working class when the going gets tough?

| Gloria Verdieu San Diego Coalition to Free Mumia and All Political Prisoners | MR OnlineGloria Verdieu, San Diego Coalition to Free Mumia and All Political Prisoners 

I am a cisgender African woman and I stand in support of transgender rights for justice, safety, and inclusion. I believe that every human being should be given every opportunity to live a productive, fulfilling life.

The term cisgender was new for me. Many of these terms are new to me, but I am determined to gain an understanding of the range of gender identities.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Christynne Lili Wrene Wood, an African American trans woman who was the target of the racist, anti-trans panic that exists in this country.

Wood is a mother, grandmother, auntie, retired health care worker, and community activist who happens to be the same age as me. Just having a conversation with Christynne gave me a better understanding of why it is important for me as a cis woman who identifies with the gender assigned to me at birth to support the rights of trans women.

Christynne was targeted in the women’s dressing room at a YMCA after a swim class. A 17-year-old girl claimed that she was traumatized when she saw a “naked man” in a dressing room shower stall. Her story was broadcast on major newscasts and the YMCA was forced to close when a hate rally was staged outside the facility.

I listened to Christynne because that could happen to me. I have been mis-identified many times and it became annoying enough to make me angry, which could jeopardize my freedom and even my life. I understood what Christynne was going through, and no one should have to go through that. Even after the truth comes out there are some lasting effects that stay with you.

The good thing is that at the next city council meeting I showed up along with many people supporting Christynne. The room was packed with many holding signs that read “Rise Up for LGBTQ+ Youth” and “Love you Christynne.”

When I asked Christynne what her thoughts were about replacing the letter e in women with an X or Y?  Her reply was,

I can understand this generation’s usage of the spelling as a means of expanding the word ‘women’ to be more inclusive, but as for me, I don’t want to be characterized or given a category. I am a woman.

After her transition Christynne was the same caring person as before, but happier.

John Parker, Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice coordinator, 2024 congressional candidate

| John Parker Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice coordinator 2024 congressional candidate | MR OnlineThe U.S. increasingly uses racism, genocide, white supremacy and anti-LGBTQ2S bigotry. These tools of fascism promote Israel’s horror in Gaza; the recent racist police killing of Frank Tyson in Ohio, so much like the murder of George Floyd; and the horrible attacks on the trans community in the U.S.

Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old transgender Choctaw student, was brutally beaten in an Owasso, Oklahoma, high school bathroom on Feb. 7 and died the next day. The school was complicit in that murder. It came nearly a year after the Oklahoma state legislature passed a ban on trans students and teachers using restrooms that align with their gender.

And the fascist attack is not only done by Republicans in backward legislatures in the states. Biden’s Department of Veterans Affairs ruled that trans veterans would not be eligible for gender-affirming surgeries.

We have seen for decades now how anti-trans bills are used to divide and weaken our working class. Whether we conform or don’t conform to our gender assignments, whether we are people of color denied the right to life in the face of a cop’s gun, whether we are victims of the denial of abortion—everyone in our multinational working class is targeted with poverty, austerity and the denial of dignity and humanity. People of color, immigrants and LGBTQ2S communities are the first and usual targets in each episode of falling back in time–stealing hard-fought gains of social progress in the U.S.

My family remembers being told to only use the bathroom labeled “colored,” and we fall back in time when bathrooms are denied to our trans community. My parents remember not being allowed to see our Black representatives in sports, and now the divisive smokescreen excuses for not allowing participation of trans athletes sets back the clock on division in sports.

And the denial of gender-affirming health care, a denial that increases the number of trans youth considering suicide, reminds us of the past and current inadequate and unequal health care that pushes up the number of deaths of Black people.

I would, however, like to roll back the clock to the most militant and united struggles for social justice that help build the necessary consciousness to clearly see our common enemies who make the laws that attack us with poverty and repression and fascist ideologies.

In the 1960s it was the Black Panther Party, the Brown Berets, the Young Lords, the Civil Rights Movement, the Deacons for Defense, the Stonewall Rebellion, the movements inspired by Malcolm X and Rosa Parks, and the music of Nina Simone and others that helped build multinational unity, creating a powerful and effective movement against the war in Vietnam and Jim Crow, and that helped put the women’s and union movements on more solid ground.

When fascist ideology raises its putrid head, it pushes the boundaries on violations of our humanity. It’s an ideology used by U.S. Homeland Security in building the boundaries on the Mexican border, constructed by an Israeli company that also built the walls to confine the Palestinian people in Gaza to terror and starvation.

But just like we know that human movement should have no boundaries or borders, we know that love and life have no boundaries of gender preference or gender fluidity. Even those stones and walls came down in the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969.

That rebellion of the LGBTQ2s community reminds us that those anti-human boundaries—like the walls against Palestine and Mexico—will also come tumbling down.

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