Last year at San Diego County’s Leon L. Williams Human Relations Commission meeting, Commissioner Pastor Dennis Hodges referred to transgender people as “abominations.” What ensued afterward was months of anti-trans rhetoric at those meetings as the committee tried to reconcile that at least one of its members didn’t share the values of the committee. These had a huge emotional impact on our trans and LGBTQ members of the committee.
All year across San Diego and the country we have seen a rise in anti-trans online harassment, protests in school boards and youth-focused events, as our trans siblings were used as a political wedge issue this election season.
These political attacks create real harm and stoke violence.
A recent poll from the Trevor Project shows us that 85% of trans and nonbinary youth and 66% of all LGBTQ youth have stated that public discourse around anti-LGBTQ legislation has negatively impacted their mental health. The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health reported that 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
2021 was the deadliest year on record for our transgender siblings, and 2022 has already seen 32 reported murders of our trans siblings.
We have to do better.
While so much progress has been made in the fight for broad LGBTQ protections here in California, it is important for our non-trans community to understand that legal protections for trans folks are further out of reach and the lived trans experience does not yet match the legislative goals our state has so far enshrined into law.
Our trans community siblings face higher rates of discrimination in the education system, employment,health care, direct service access, public accommodation, treatment by law enforcement, and more. Visibility and policy revisions alone aren’t the answer. As we reimagine our social systems we must understand the power that each of us has in our daily lives to stop trans-hate in its tracks and proactively engage in shaping a safer and more equitable world for our trans siblings.
San Diego’s Trans Day of Remembrance is this Sunday. I hope you will join us as we mourn and honor the lives and legacy of our trans siblings who were murdered this year. I also hope that you use that time, that day, to pause and reflect on the role that you play within your own schools, institutions of faith, government agencies, companies, small businesses, communities, social groups, sports teams, media outlets, arts and culture groups, friend circles, and families. From there you personally can make an impact toward ending transphobia, create a more equitable life for our trans siblings, save lives, and ensure all of us can live to pursue Justice with Joy.