Responses to Hate
In a time when legislative, cultural, and physical attacks on transgender and nonbinary Americans are everywhere, it can be hard to maintain hope and resilience. To help you sustain yourself, FORGE is sharing actions people are taking across the country to counter what is happening and build up our community. Some of these are offered as inspiration and reassurance that we are not alone. Others are actions that any one of us could take to strengthen both individual and collective hope and resilience. A few are controversial in that some people would not agree they are helpful. We offer these anyway to help you “think outside the box” when you generate your own responses.
Introducing anti-religious indoctrination legislation
Nebraska State Senator Megan Hunt (D) has responded to a proposed no-drag bill by filing a parallel bill: “The Legislature finds that there is a well documented history of indoctrination and sexual abuse perpetrated by religious leaders and clergy people upon children. Abusers within churches and other religious institutions often use events like church or youth-group-sponsored camps and retreats to earn children’s trust and gain unsupervised access to such children in order to commit such abuse.”
Sprayregen, M. (2023, January 30). Democrat files bill to ban church youth camps as hotbeds of child abuse & “religious indoctrination.” LGBTQ Nation. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2023/01/democrat-files-bill-to-ban-church-youth-camps-as-hotbeds-of-child-abuse-religious-indoctrination/
Signing “A Better Texas for All Texans” Pledge
Texans can get involved in supporting trans, nonbinary, and LGBTQ+ communities by signing “A Better Texas for All Texans” Pledge, which includes respect for LGBTQ+ people as essential to “promoting a competitive, economically vibrant Texas.” https://www.texascompetes.net/pledge/
Increasing funding to drag queen story hour
NYC Council Members who have been harassed at home and at work for their support of Drag Queen Story Hour NYC are planning on increasing their funding of the group through their discretionary funds.
Stark-Miller, E. (2023, February 3). Council members look to increase funding for Drag Story Hour, refuse to cower to far-right protesters. AM New York. https://www.amny.com/politics/council-members-look-to-increase-funding-for-drag-story-hour-refuse-to-cower-to-far-right-protesters/
Publishing an Op-Ed
Some individuals and newspaper staff have taken to raising awareness about anti-trans issues by publishing op-ed pieces. Read an article from Iowa’s Gazette on the harmful bills impacting the LGBTQ community:
Iowa’s Gazette op ed: Iowa Republicans must drop harmful LGBTQ bills. 1/21/2023 https://www.thegazette.com/staff-editorials/iowa-republicans-must-drop-harmful-lgbtq-bills/
Using the Save the Rainbow Flag Toolkit
The Save the Rainbow Flag toolkit includes the basics to get started in your community, like the ACLU’s open letter, Gilbert Baker Foundation’s statement, logo and poster files, and sample letters for local officials. Download here: https://gilbertbaker.com/save-the-rainbow-flag-toolkit/
Making your city a safe haven
Kansas City – in Missouri, which has passed multiple anti-trans laws – has approved a “resolution that directs City personnel to not criminally prosecute or impose administrative penalties on an individual or organization for providing, seeking, receiving, or assisting another individual who is seeking gender-affirming healthcare. If a law is put into place by the State of Missouri that imposes criminal punishment, civil liability, administrative penalties, or professional sanctions on an individual or organization against gender-affirming healthcare, staff is directed to make this their lowest priority. The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department is encouraged to adopt a similar policy.”
City of Kansas City (2023, May 11). Press release: Safe haven for transgender residents: Policy to protect Transgender residents approved. https://www.kcmo.gov/Home/Components/News/News/2040/1746
Issuing a Presidential Proclamation
On Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, 2023, President Joe Biden issued a Presidential Proclamation that addressed anti-trans state legislation in several ways: “A wave of discriminatory state laws is targeting Transgender youth, terrifying families and hurting kids who are not hurting anyone….[T]he Department of Justice is pushing back against extreme laws that seek to ban evidence-based gender-affirming health care…. Together, we also have to keep challenging the hundreds of hateful state laws that have been introduced across the country…”
“America is founded on the idea that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout their lives. We have never fully lived up to that, but we have never walked away from it either. Today, as we celebrate Transgender people, we also celebrate every American’s fundamental right to be themselves, bringing us closer to realizing America’s full promise.”
Lavers, M. (2023, March 30). Biden recognizes Transgender Day of Visibility. Washington Blade. https://www.washingtonblade.com/2023/03/30/biden-issues-transgender-day-of-visibility-proclamation/
Getting on clinic wait lists
If your state has or may outlaw gender-affirming care, think about getting on the waiting list of a clinic in a neighboring state. Dianne Piggott of the Transgender Health Program at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland notes that Idahoans face an 8-12 month waiting list for kids referred by another doctor, and urges people to get that referral and start the process immediately.
Doing an injection in public
25-year-old Lindsey Spero gave himself his weekly hormone shot in front of the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine, which were debating a trans care ban. He said: “I’m going to take the rest of my time to demonstrate the sacred and weekly ritual of my shot in front of you in this body. My medication is lifesaving… Your denial of my need for this medication doesn’t make my existence as a trans person any less real.”
Sprayregen, M. (2023, Feb. 15) Trans activist injects testosterone in front of board at hearing to protest trans health care ban. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2023/02/trans-activist-injects-testosterone-in-front-of-board-at-hearing-to-protest-trans-health-care-ban/
Outlawing book bans
Saying, “Here in Illinois, we don’t hide from the truth, we embrace it,” Governor JB Pritzker made Illinois the first state to make it illegal for libraries to ban books. “Everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in the books they read, the art they see, the history they learn. In Illinois, we are showing the nation what it really looks like to stand up for liberty.” The law removes funding from libraries if they remove books from the shelf based on someone’s personal or partisan disapproval.
Sprayregen, M. (2023, June 13). Illinois becomes the first state to outlaw book bans in historic move. LGBTQ Nation. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2023/06/illinois-becomes-the-first-state-to-outlaw-book-bans-in-historic-move-for-free-speech-rights/
Using Instagram to organize volunteers
An LGBTQ-owned Montana Book Company in Helena posted on Instagram asking for as many people as possible to show up when their Drag Story Hour was threatened on social media by an Oath Keeper. A drag queen appealed to crowds at other events where she was performing. On the day of the event, “groups of veterans and former law enforcement officers, in addition to about one hundred community supporters” played music and danced before fewer than one dozen anti-LGBTQ protestors.
Sprayregen, M. (2022, October 1). Bookstore mobilized supportive allies to protect Drag Story Hour from rightwing militia. LGBTQ Nation. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2022/09/bookstore-mobilized-supportive-allies-protect-drag-story-hour-rightwing-militia/
Speaking directly to trans kids
Nebraska state Senator John Fredrickson, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, found his voice cracking as he emotionally recalled his mother’s acceptance and said, “To my LGBTQ family, I spoke to you at the beginning of the week, and I’ll speak to you again. Regardless of what happens today, heads up. Chins up. We’re survivors. Me standing in this room is proof of that.”
Browning, B. (2023, March 24). Gay legislator breaks down in tears as he apologizes to trans people for disgusting GOP colleagues. LGBTQ Nation. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2023/03/gay-legislator-breaks-down-in-tears-as-he-apologizes-to-trans-people-for-disgusting-gop-colleagues/
Testifying before the legislature
Three religious families with trans kids have testified at the Missouri legislature, which considered at least 31 anti-trans bills this year. One father said he had come to believe the best – and possibly only – hope for heading off aggressive anti-trans bills is to humanize the children and their families to help lawmakers understand they are scarcely different from their own.
Cha, Ariana Eunjung (2023, February 28). ‘Our state is at war with our family’: Clergy with trans kids fight back. The Washington Post Magazine. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2023/02/28/missouri-transgender-bills/