This week, my group, the Transgender Law Center, and partners organized a national day of action in El Paso, Tex. As we gathered, we learned that a transgender woman named Brooklyn Lindsay had been murdered in Missouri, underscoring the crisis that we are in.
The political backdrop for these murders has been a series of policy attacks on transgender people, from bills in the Tennessee statehouse targeting trans people that would expand public indecency laws to bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms to a Department of Health and Human Services rule that could allow discrimination against transgender people in health care. The government is inciting violence against transgender people, and unless we call it out, we are complicit.
Local, state and federal officials must block legislation and regulations that discriminate against transgender people. Congress should pass the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which would improve conditions for detained immigrants, including transgender ones.
We need to end the use of money bail and pre-trial detention in major cities and towns across the country, a practice that has a devastating impact on black transgender women. New York lawmakers should pass the bills proposed in Albany that would decriminalize sex work. If passed, this would be a major blow to Police Department practices that target transgender women of color.
The truth is Stonewall never ended. Trans women still face intense police violence. State and federal lawmakers, as well as Trump administration officials, are seeking to ramp up discrimination against us.
We need strong moral leadership from politicians to change the culture of violence against L.G.B.T.Q. people. And just as they were 50 years ago, transgender people, people of color, migrants, homeless people and those most affected by violence will be the people who create the pressure that forces lawmakers to act.
Shelby Chestnut (@shelbypearl) is the director of policy and programs at the Transgender Law Center.
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