Here are actions you can take to support civil rights for the trans community.
Engage in advocacy
- Work with local trans-run organizations to run a public campaign against proposed bills or legislation that aim to curtail trans civil rights. As you work with the organization, privately make sure they are hiring trans people for their work rather than expecting trans people to offer their services without pay. For those who live in the Seattle area, Gender Justice League is a great example of a trans-run organization doing this work, and LGBTQ Allyship “[builds] leaders who directly live these intersectional lives as speakers, board members, advisory board members, staff, and volunteers.”
- Write or call your legislators to urge them to speak out and vote against discriminatory bills and hate crime legislation. Ask them to support the Affordable Care Act which, if defunded, will disproportionately affect LGBTQ Americans without money to pay for their care. Washington State residents, contact Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, and other state legislators.
- Urge organizations and the government to take on the direct service work that trans/lgbtq organizations do for free: community HIV and STD testing, pro-bono crisis counseling, pro-bono legal aid, transition-related healthcare expenses (currently largely crowd-funded), etc.
- Create a trans-run media company that produces commercials, public campaign videos, and mainstreams trans actors/actresses.
- Got skills in fundraising? Spearhead a grant that would help fund the company or crowdfund while identifying trans people to run the campaign.
Educate the community
– Adapted from interview with Y. Robinson, trans activist and writer.
- Create a fact sheet that counters bathroom bills. Demonstrate how how right-wing campaigns aims to disenfranchise more than just trans people, such as preventing multiple gender families from using a bathroom or those who need nonstandard bathrooms.
- Educate the media on trans cultural competency by writing to your local newspaper or community blog. For example, urge they they use people’s self-identified pronouns and avoid misgendering. Ask them to shift messaging towards statements that humanize rather than relegate trans people to the victim box, as in “This law hurts people who are already marginalized…”
- Pitch a journalism class at a local community college or university that focuses on cultural competency, issues of justice, and moving beyond polarizing liberal vs. conservative thinking.
- Develop a trans focus group to create space for trans voice and leadership in determining how to counter bathroom bills and other harmful legislation.
Lambda Legal “is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.”
“16 Ways to be a Transgender Advocate and Ally” from campuspride.org