Donald Trump is taking office and we are still transgender.
As young people, we find it hard to comprehend what a world looks like without President Obama in the Oval Office. It is hard to understand what it could mean to have someone so openly anti-queer and anti-trans in the vice president’s seat. As young organizers, it is hard for us to accept that the progress we’ve invested most of our lives in could vanish come January.
So we’ll be honest: we’re scared. But as young transgender and gender-nonconforming people, we know that if anything is certain, it is that we are ready.
On this day, Transgender Day of Resilience, we are ready to continue our work toward an intersectional liberation for our people and for ourselves.
We are ready to continue fighting for our right to exist on our campuses because we have no choice but to remain resilient.
We are ready to raise our voices in spaces dominated by our nontransgender counterparts because that is what we have done from the beginning.
We are ready to accelerate our drive and take to the streets to fight for our communities, because our communities are all we have.
We are also ready to continue loving ourselves, or at least working toward that love. For young people, self love may not be a thing that comes easy, but now, more than ever, it is important to work toward appreciating our own bodies, existence, and power.
Being young and transgender under a Trump presidency means we will undoubtedly have the spotlight on our community but in a more direct way than before. Conservative politicians have historically attacked the most marginalized communities.
We know there is no community stronger than young trans people. We are a community that openly challenges race, gender, and capitalism, the world’s most centered systems of oppression, before we are even seen as adults by this nation.
To the young trans/gender-nonconforming people reading this, we want to be honest. Trump’s victory via a system grounded in the devaluing and suppression of marginalized people leaves us with many uncertainties. We don’t know what exact legislation will be pursued that could endanger us. We don’t know what this means for our visibility. We don’t know what this means for the rights we’ve won. We don’t know what this means for our relationships with family and friends who do not fully understand what we are experiencing, feeling, fighting for.
But we do know one thing: there is a reason the transgender pride flag has more colors than white. We do not wave white flags; we will not surrender. There is so much power in us — this we have already proved.
As transgender and gender-nonconforming youth leaders of GSA Network and Transgender Law Center’s TRUTH program, we ask you to:
Remember the history of resiliency within our movement.
Remember you embody the fierceness of Marsha and Sylvia.
Remember your power, your presence.
Remember your worth.
Remember, we got you, and you are loved.
If you need support or someone to talk to, please consider calling one of the various organizations waiting to support you: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (800) 273-8255; the Trevor Project, (866) 488-7386, or text "Trevor" to (202) 304-1200; Trans Lifeline, (877) 565-8860.
The TRUTH program, a project of GSA Network and Transgender Law Center, aims to build public understanding, empathy, and support for transgender and gender-nonconforming youth through youth storytelling and peer leadership development. TRUTH is led by a national youth council and regional youth councils.
This commentary was prepared by members of TRUTH's national youth council and California youth council. From the National TRUTH Council: Violet Martinez, New Mexico; Foster Noone, Alabama/Louisiana; Asia Chan, Georgia; Micai Newsome, Maryland; Noah Jenkins, California; Jax Chandler, Washington; Ayden Prehara, Wisconsin; Zeam Porter, Minnesota; Pickles Lee, Oklahoma. From the California TRUTH Council: Dani Alvarez, Yosa Lagunas-Guerrero, Carson Blumen-Green, Dean Welliver, Dan Cordero, Nick Garcia, Dominic Ravina, Shear Avory.