Opinion | Why the Pickle Became a Symbol of Transgender Rights


It would be nice, for instance, if transgender women — most of them women of color — weren’t being routinely murdered. Twenty-six were killed in 2018. We’re up to 18 so far this year. Bee Love Slater was tied up and shot before being incinerated on Sept. 4. She was 23 years old.

“These victims are not numbers,” the Human Rights Campaign tweeted this week. “They were people with hopes and dreams, loved ones and communities who will miss them every day.”

It would also be nice if it were not legal to fire someone for being trans, as it is in 26 states. This fall, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in R.G and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case may decide whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against transgender people. The Trump administration, of course, is arguing that it’s fine to fire people for who they are. The Log Cabin Republicans, meanwhile, published an essay in The Washington Post this summer endorsing him for re-election. “Trump met his commitments to L.G.B.T. Americans,” the group cluelessly declared.

Dear Log Cabin Republicans: no pickles for you.

What else is better than a pickle? How about a roof over our heads? L.G.B.T.Q. people face much higher odds of becoming homeless during their lives, in part because the people who are supposed to care for us so often throw us out on the street when we come out. The Trump administration, the little dears, announced a new policy this spring making it legal to gut protections for trans people in homeless shelters. Because clearly, when people voted to make America great again, kicking people out of homeless shelters was what they had in mind.

Come to think of it, I want a lot of things besides pickles. Most of the things I want could be classified under the heading “equal protection under the law.” In some circles, this makes me a radical.

Honestly, there is nothing radical about me. Except, perhaps, my love of pickles.

Some people think they’re too briny, too bitter, too fiery.

But I am not one of those people. Until we have justice, we will continue to live in a country full of brine, and bitterness, and fire.


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