As we approach Transgender Day of Visibility, now more than ever we must lift up the transgender community.
Across the country, anti-equality politicians at all levels of government are targeting the rights of trans and gender-nonconforming Americans, including through restrictions on gender-affirming care, sports bans, curriculum censorship laws, and restrictions on drag performances, which echo a long history of laws designed to police trans and gender non-conforming people just living their lives.
Radical right-wing supporters of these policies have made their intentions clear: they want to eradicate transgender people from public life. Calling for the eradication of people is a call to action for anti-equality extremists to enact violence against a vulnerable community.
As Members of Congress and Co-Chairs of the Congressional Equality Caucus’ Transgender Equality Task Force, we are committed to both pushing back against these attacks and advancing legislation to further transgender equality. We and our fellow elected officials have a responsibility to create a world where transgender people can live freely, without fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence.
Trans people are here, and here to stay. It is up to all of us, especially cisgender allies, to ensure we are creating a world where transgender people can live authentically.
For us, this work is deeply personal.
I told Rep. Jacobs about how proud I am to be the mother to my beautiful trans daughter. I, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, consider being her mother to be the greatest honor of my life. I want people to see Kashi, acknowledge her, and know her for who she is because people like her are what make this world so special.
Like Rep. Jayapal, this hits close to home for me and my family. I, Rep. Sara Jacobs, am the proud sister of a trans brother and a gender-nonconforming sibling. Officiating my brother’s wedding was one of the greatest honors of my life and watching my siblings become comfortable and confident in their own skin makes fighting for the trans and GNC communities even more meaningful.
That is why our reintroduction of the Transgender Bill of Rights and Trans Day of Visibility Resolution in the House of Representatives means so much to both of us.
The Transgender Bill of Rights provides a comprehensive framework for protecting the rights of transgender and nonbinary people by urging Congress to ensure that transgender and nonbinary people have equal access to services and public accommodations, recognize the right to bodily autonomy and ethical healthcare, promote the safety of trans and gender nonconforming people, and enforce the civil rights of transgender people.
The Transgender Day of Visibility Resolution highlights the increasing visibility and accomplishments of the transgender community, despite the attacks the community continues to face. Currently, there are at least 18 transgender, gender-nonconforming, or nonbinary elected officials in state legislatures, and eight states have at least one transgender or gender-nonconforming jurist on the bench.
Transgender people have always been at the forefront of the call for equality and social justice in our communities. The community has been fighting for both acceptance and equal protection under the law so they can enjoy life, liberty, and freedom like all other communities. Now we must fight alongside them.
We must all use our voices to raise awareness of the discrimination and violence the community still faces and to recognize the bravery of the transgender community as it fights for equal dignity and respect.
Transgender Day of Visibility provides us the opportunity to lift up the stories of the transgender community and the pivotal role they have played in our history. Let us recommit to the fight for transgender equality, so all transgender people have the choice to be visible however they wish.
Transgender visibility matters.
Transgender visibility matters because trans youth deserve to see themselves reflected in the classroom, on our television and movie screens, and in our history books.
Transgender visibility matters because trans people deserve to be celebrated in our communities, in our workplaces, and in all parts of life.
Transgender visibility matters because trans people matter.
Their stories matter.
Their experiences matter.
And our support matters.
When we create environments for transgender people to thrive, we create a society where people can live the lives they deserve to live. We create a society where trans people can tell their stories, showcase their talents, and contribute to our society. And importantly, we ensure that others, through seeing transgender people’s visibility, can learn love and acceptance for another human being.
It’s on all of us to make this world a reality.
In Congress, supporting working families, our students, and our constituents includes supporting transgender people, but we need your partnership in this work.
Now more than ever, we must all unite to protect each other and support the rights of transgender people, whether we love someone who is transgender or don’t know someone who is transgender. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: to be seen, to be heard, and to be affirmed.
As we mark Transgender Day of Visibility, we must all do our part in making this a reality.
Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Sara Jacobs of California are the co-chairs of the Transgender Equality Task Force of the Equality Caucus.
Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.