On Oct. 21, 2018, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration is considering a rollback of Obama-era policies that significantly loosened the legal definition of gender, acknowledging that gender is not determined by sex assigned at birth, thus granting federal recognition to millions of individuals in areas such as education and health care. This is not the first time the Trump administration has targeted transgender people, but it “would be the most significant of a series of maneuvers, large and small, to exclude the population from civil rights protections,” according to the Times. Understandably, the transgender community across the United States and the world reacted with fear, anger, indignation and confusion, amongst countless other emotions.
These revelations are being felt by each and every person who identifies as transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming — including members of the Wellesley community. This week, we at The Wellesley News wish to dedicate a space for our community to share their thoughts, experiences and frustrations, as well as provide a selective list of actions you, the reader, can take as an ally in support of the transgender community.
“President Johnson, when you failed to recognize the trans students at campus who are not women, you sided with this presidential administration. When my white cis[gender] woman classmate claims that we are all women at Wellesley under the eyes of the patriarchy, you sided with this presidential administration. Those who have refused to acknowledge trans people’s pronouns or even their existence, you have sided with this presidential administration, and brought the trans community one step closer to murder because of it.”
Alicia Margarita Olivo ’20, she/they
“At convocation President Johnson spoke to two things that I deeply believe in. The first was on anger. “Anger is energy. Anger can be fuel. The challenge, as I see it, is to use our anger wisely.” Then in her list of beliefs she said she believed in the “power of fierce love.” These are two things that the transgender community needs right now. However it is not just your trans sibs, but the attacks on civil rights and right to citizenship for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx, Muslim and other people of color. The undermining of voting rights for citizens and those who lived on these lands before colonization. The attacks on health for disabled, poor, chronically ill, and others. Attacks on reproductive rights. There is a lot to be angry for.
Wellesley does not have enough rage, and not enough fierce unconditional love. We often talk of allyship –– and here you need rage and love.
For many here it might seem that you cannot affect the outside world much more than voting. While that’s important it is not what we need, what I need from you. I do not believe the systemic issues will fix themself in an election, or even another generation. However I do believe we can reach liberation.
Center your allyship in anger and love. Actions outwards and in. Your allyship needs to start here at Wellesley. Transphobia, racism, ableism, sanism, and systems of white supremacy and settler colonialism are very much present here on campus.
Use your anger to drive you to speak up when you see things in class or on campus, use empathy to know that calling campus police is violence, and perhaps the “greatest of all these” emotions is love. Love is not just asking how someone is but genuinely wanting to know. Love is clearing away obstacles for those who might not be able to see their way out of the now. Love is consistently showing up for others
This love is something I don’t see happening nearly enough on campus. Be better allies Wellesley.”
Pris Nasrat, she/they ’20
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP): “founded on the understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social and economic justice.”
Transgender Lifeline: “a grassroots hotline and microgrants organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis.”
Transgender Law Center: “the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people.”
National Center for Transgender Equality: founded by transgender activists “to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.”
Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER): “a youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment.”
A number of organizations, including the Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and others, accept and work with corporate partners. As such, we recommend donating first and foremost to the above organizations, as well as individual GoFundMe and Kickstarter campaigns organized by and for the transgender community
Above all, if you are a United States citizen concerned with an increasingly-dangerous climate for your friends, family, loved ones, peers and total strangers, go out and vote on Nov. 6.
Edited by Jodi Wei ’20, staff writer