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Transgender awareness month, November 2022

Perceptions about Trans people has been created by a century’s worth of media which overwhelmingly misrepresented & mischaracterized them

LOS ANGELES – Starting today and culminating with Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday the 20th, November marks Transgender awareness month. This annual event marks the time to honor, celebrate, and advocate for the transgender and gender diverse community.

Each year on November 20, LGBTQIA+ people everywhere pause to remember and mourn the lives lost to transphobic violence. This tradition began in Boston in 1998 in response to the murder of beloved LGBTQ+ community member Rita Hester in the Boston city neighborhood of Allston.

While there has been incredible progress made in recent years in the fight for transgender rights, recorded instances of transphobic violence and discrimination are higher now than at the time of Hester’s tragic death. People of color and, particularly, transgender women of color face a disproportionate rate of hate violence.

Each year between November 13 – 19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face.

This election year issues over Trans Americans have become political talking points and political platform substance for the Republican party as extremists in the far-right and fringe elements of the GOP continue to attack trans youth healthcare, specifically raising alarm and spreading falsehoods over gender affirmation surgery and treatment for gender dysphoria via HRT (Hormone replacement therapy).

Leading the attacks on social media and right-leaning media has been the infamous Libs of TikTok, authored by former Brooklyn real estate agent and fanatical adherent of far-right extremist ideology, Chaya Raichik, who has wreaked havoc via her social media accounts ‘Libs of Tik Tok’, attacking LGBTQ+ people with special emphasis on spreading lies and propaganda about transgender people.

Also actively engaged in singling out and the persecution of Trans people has been Daily Wire host and far-right extremist anti-transgender activist Matt Walsh. In a Twitter post attacking trans people last month wrote: “I believe that gender ideology is one of the greatest evils in human history. There is nothing they can threaten that would make me back down from this fight. I’d rather be dead than surrender to this madness. It’s as simple as that for me.”

Walsh, who has over a million followers which includes the anti-LGBTQ activist account Libs of Tik-Tok, has called gender-affirming surgery human body mutilation, added in another tweet: “The medical establishment, Big Tech, and the federal government conspire to punish those of us who criticize the accepted narrative. This is full on tyranny, and it will of course be defended by every single leftist who spends every day whining about “fascism.”

Most recently attacks on American hospitals providing trans healthcare, especially those with clinics treating trans youth have been targeted by anti-Trans extremists led by Walsh and Raichik, spreading misinformation and lies about gender-affirming surgery which has fostered attacks on those healthcare facilities by far-right extremist elements.

Misinformation about treatments is rife on social media and in the right wing media, but 7-year-olds do not receive cross-sex hormones and are given puberty blockers only if another underlying disorder is causing precocious puberty. Cross-sex hormones are safe, studied, and effective treatments for gender dysphoria that dramatically reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in trans people.

Information about where to seek out medical care is vital for trans people. Nearly half of all trans people report experiencing mistreatment from medical providers, including verbal or physical abuse. According to a 2016 study, the biggest obstacle to obtaining safe and effective health care for trans people is a lack of knowledge by medical providers. 

Governmental agencies have also targeted the trans community. Last week, the Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee Friday advanced a rule that will effectively ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state. 

The policy, which would likely block a minor’s access to puberty blockers, hormone therapies and surgeries – a rare intervention for transgender youth – will now head to the full the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathy for finalization and a vote.

A 10-year old trans kid in Florida holds up a trans rights sign.

Recent polling also shows the higher levels of animosity directed towards the Trans American community especially as related to trans youth:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) tracks annual statistics of violence against the people in the transgender community. In the latest statistics currently available, HRC has reported that in 2022 there have been at least 31 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means in the United States.

A disproportionately high number of victims are Black and Latinx transgender women. The 2022 report follows reports of 41 deaths in 2021; 33 deaths in 2020; 27 deaths in 2019; 26 deaths in 2018; 29 deaths in 2017; and 23 deaths in 2016.

According to HRC: “it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and unchecked access to guns conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare, and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.”

This wave of violence has been declared an epidemic by the American Medical Association. Rates of actual violence or deaths may, in fact, be higher but anti-transgender violence can be difficult to accurately measure, as victims are sometimes misgendered in reports, which can delay awareness of deadly incidents. 

Some states are taking measures, codified into law to protect Trans people.

As states from Texas to Alabama are considering or have recently passed measures criminalizing parents and providers for providing gender affirming healthcare for trans youth, California is set to welcome them and their families with open arms. 

S.B. 107, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom provides refuge for trans youth and their families, protecting parents from prosecution for supporting and facilitating their kids’ access to medically approved healthcare – actions for which they may be prosecuted in Alabama, for example, on felony charges carrying prison terms of up to 10 years. 

Specifically, S.B. 107 prohibits law enforcement in California from cooperating with out-of-state agencies regarding the provision of lawful gender-affirming health treatments in California to trans children, whether by complying with subpoenas seeking information on such or participating in arrests or extraditions over such. 

Conversely, in Virginia, Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin called for schools to out trans and gender nonconforming students to their parents and guardians, prompting a rebuke from GLSEN. The Virginia Department of Education heard testimony on Youngkin’s proposed revisions to guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students last month and the adoption of those changes has been delayed until later this month.

Trans Activist Erin Reed noted: “The effective date of Glen Youngkin’s transphobic Virginia school board policies that force teachers to misgender trans students, deadname them, and ban them from bathrooms has been delayed 30 days.”

Good news!

The effective date of Glen Youngkin’s transphobic Virginia school board policies that force teachers to misgender trans students, deadname them, and ban them from bathrooms has been delayed 30 days.

We must continue to turn out and fight these oppressive policies.— Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn) October 27, 2022

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has also attacked transgender people and their supporters most recently during a rally for Virginia congressional candidate Yesli Vega that took place at a Prince William County, Virginia church a week ago.

“Virginia is a parent state … this is a battle between sanity and insanity,” said the Texas Republican during the rally that took place at the Montclair Tabernacle Church in Dumfries. “These people are nuts. They can’t figure out what a woman is. The last I checked, that was not a trick question.”

According to a PEW poll, 68% Americans believe they have never personally met someone who is transgender, that means the majority of the public’s education and awareness about this community has been informed by more than a century’s worth of media which has overwhelmingly misrepresented and mischaracterized who trans people are–significantly influencing public perceptions, policy, and attitudes about the trans community. 

This month says activists and advocates is dedicated to change those negative views and stop the spread of misinformation, lies and propaganda.

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