By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com October 01 2012 6:50 PM ET
According to the Williams Institute at University of California, Los Angeles, more than 25,000 transgender people could lose their right to vote thanks to new voter ID laws sweeping the nation. To help trans folk navigate the strict new laws that require photo identification in order to vote, NCTE has launched a public awareness campaign called Voting While Trans.
Voter ID laws have been instituted in 33 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The laws claim to prevent voter fraud, which, according to an August analysis by News 21, occurred a total of 10 times since 2000. That's one case of alleged fraud for every 15 million voters.
Federal courts have struck down pending voter ID laws in Texas, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, finding that the laws disproportionately affected immigrants, the elderly, people of color, the poor, women, and trans folk. That's why NCTE has launched a series of public service announcements to educate trans folk on how to protect their right to vote.
"The fear of being turned away because of my ID kept me from voting in previous elections," says queer actor, artist, and gender-nonconforming filmmaker Ignacio Rivera in one PSA. "In the last election, my daughter was of voting age, and it was too important to me to show her that I vote. So I got the information, set an example, and protected my right to vote."
"Turning away transgender voters because of gender stereotypes is discrimination, and it's un-American," says NCTE executive director Mara Kiesling in another video.
The six PSAs feature Rivera, Kiesling, actress Laverne Cox, writer and advocate Janet Mock, Charles Meins, and poet Kit Yan. Watch the entire series of PSAs here, and watch the compounded PSA below.