Slapping at the Gender-Neutral Sign

The Obama administration was, for lack of a better word, damned revolutionary for trans folks across America, especially trans teens like me. Back in January of 2015, Former President Obama (take me back) made history as the first President of the United States to say the word 'Transgender.' 

For a trans kid like me, that was pretty affirming, or maybe life-changing. It was a message of validity, of compassion. No matter what the kids at school or my doctors said, the President of the United States had my back. 

But that was then. That's no longer the case. 

It's no secret that the election of President Donald Trump sounded alarms in the Transgender community, and, indeed, in the LGBTQIA community as a whole. We scrambled for hormone treatment and birth control, unsure if our health care would cover it in the years to come. We begged parents for legal name changes, unsure if that right would still be there for us. And now, it appears we were right.

On Friday, President Trump and his administration dropped Obama's guidelines on Transgender bathrooms in schools, which Obama outlined was protected by Title 9, saying that the Justice Department was "...considering how best to proceed in this appeal." 

This does not bode well. As Obama's decision was a message of hope, Trump's is a message of fear and uncertainty to Trans students in America. This threatens one of the only (meager at best) protections we possess in school. 

Even in my high school in New York, our Gender Neutral bathrooms are generally used by cis students for, shall we say, social time, and I've seen many a callous student slapping at the Gender-Neutral sign, wearing away at the paint. At least under Obama we had some standing that this basic right was assured to us in school. That we would be safe. That would be respected like everyone else.

Now? I'm not so sure. Citing safety reasons for this decision only cements the hatred evident in this administration: we don't care if you get assaulted in the bathroom, so long as it's not the cis students. Never mind the fact that, overwhelmingly, its Trans people who's safety is threatened when they're forced to use bathrooms that don't match their Gender Identity. 

When reading the New York Times article about this development, my heart sank at the mention of Gavin Grimm, who I had just seen in Nat Geo's Gender Revolution documentary. His fight (and our fight) has become that much harder. 

But in some ways, this is the most comforting fact of all - the fact that trans folk like Gavin Grimm are fighting in this uncertain time. After all, we are the generation that was told It Gets Better. But that message seems dated now, when our identity is attacked from all sides. We need to make it better now, for the trans children entering high school to the trans elders who deserve to live their life with dignity and respect. 

Though times are pretty damn scary, as Abigail Adams said, "It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed." As I write, activists across America are fighting for clean water, their right to live in America, and even their right to go to the damn bathroom. As I write, the future President of the United States is somewhere taking part in political action for the first time; their first protest, their first die-in. In that knowledge, I have hope. In the people of America, I have hope. 

Have a good week, guys. Let's all be kind, and let's all be ready.

Fyodor