We are in a fight for every LGBT life.
So far this year there has been 20 suicides in the US, mostly teens and young adults and 22 murders doubled that of 2014. Worldwide at times there has been one murder every 29 hours. Every one of these deaths has this in common. There is a prevailing social climate stigmatizing trans people which precludes gainful employment, housing and access to public accommodations.
Our murders and suicides are the direct results of the labor of the 784 hate groups operating in the US. Of those, 33 target LGBT people. But since marriage equality became law Transgender and gender non-conforming people have become their focus.
And you can bet your life they celebrate each and every one of our deaths.
This is no longer a hodgepodge of homegrown knee jerk reactionary extremists responding ineffectually to local human rights ordinances. We are now facing a well-financed coordinated attack by ‘family’ organizations, “religious” zealots, Tea Party extremists and associated hate groups.
These groups as we saw in Plano Texas will not be placated with Jim Crow style amendments excluding trans people in proposed or existing non-discrimination ordinances.
Then they will go after Gay and Lesbians.
You can not bury your head in the sand, they are relentless adversaries. As a Texan, I can tell you I am deeply concerned. No, not just concerned, frightened, by whom these people are. The Governor and Lt Governor of Texas are paying for ads featuring themselves which perpetuate lies that kill transgender people.
The Texas Governor’s office issued a call to action advocating and giving tactic permission to use whatever insidious underhanded deceitful methods deemed useful to accomplish their goal.
Texas, the next bathroom battleground state.
The method they used so successfully in Houston, the bathroom meme, played a key part in influencing the 30% of undecided voters polled about Prop 1. The Houston human rights ordinance was brought to a referendum and nullified during the November 4th election.
They were successful in Houston because our strategy was sorely lacking. We did not connect, we did not focus resulting in a low turnout by the LGBT community and progressives at the polls.
Houston was just the beginning. Of the 20+ Texan anti-LGBT bills, 4 would criminalize transgender use of restrooms. Some of those bills which will be reintroduced in 2016, intend to make our employers criminally liable for allowing us to use the restroom which corresponds to our gender identity.
Of course, these bills and the ones introduced nationally last year fly in the face of the law as interpreted by the Justice department. But don’t feel safe. That interpretation is being enforced by a justice department which is operating under a progressive administration. That too is subject to change if we don’t vote.
At stake is the immediate future are the transgender-inclusive human rights ordinances in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso. If these hate groups have shown anything, it’s that they are lazy. They don’t want to have to do the work organizing individual petitions and they might not have to. All of those ordinances could very well become invalidated by the State legislature should it pass HB1556 the “Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act.” or any of the four similar bills that were introduced in the 2015 legislative session. Incredibly that bill’s stated purpose is to improve Texas’s interstate economic viability by invalidating all local human rights laws.
Even though fortune 500 companies consistently publicly support LGBT-inclusive laws because they help make a welcoming environment which in turn attracts and keeps some of their best employees, LGBT people.
But given the viciousness of these hateful people you just got to know they won’t stop with that. Next they will come after our personhood invalidating our legal documentation,
So what can we do? In a conversation a Texas LGBT advocacy organization, I’ve learned that for them it’s pretty much business as usual. They look to bring more transgender people into the public eye, increasing our visibility. It’s a time-proven plan and would work given another 10 years. We are seeing good things come of this but sadly it’s also contributing to the doubling of our murders.
“What feels uniquely dangerous about this moment is the moral hierarchy that’s being established where trans and gender non-conforming people have to be ‘visible’ in order to be legitimate,” Vaid-Menon, of the Audre Lorde Project said of the pressure to come out as transgender for those most at risk. “Even though increased visibility for the most vulnerable among us results in incredible violence.”
So what can we do differently? We must have a plan to directly challenge the bathroom meme, and yes it means some increased transgender visibility. It will be expensive and it must be better organized and directed than those who rejoice in our murders. We must have TV and print spots, so it will be costly.
We must help the best as we can with the financing but we will need help from the greater LGB community, specifically HRC. And just as a reminder, they won’t stop with the T.