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A Point of Definition for the United States and for Americans

When he accepted the nomination as the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump vowed to protect LGBTQ citizens from violence and oppression. Less than a month ago, however, a memo circulated throughout the Trump administration detailing plans to eliminate transgender identity from our society by legally redefining gender identity. These attempts to erase the identity of Americans do nothing more than tear at the fabric of our society.

America suffers when we regress as a society and at this moment we stand at a dangerous crossroad. We have come too far in the fight for transgender inclusion to begin taking steps backwards. This point of reversal in global leadership from the United States bruises the pride in our country of our people. They are American citizens. They contribute to our economy, our communities, and to our identity as Americans.

And Americans suffer the disappointment of watching their country tatter its reputation as a beacon of freedom. Instead of being seen as a threat, transgender Americans should be respected and incorporated into our society. These attempts to erase trans people and their identities are rooted in hate and fear. That same hate and fear permeates our society and infests our discourse and everyday life.

As business owners, LGBT Americans contribute over $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, according to a report by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). They own and operate businesses and create jobs. They support their communities. Any attempts to diminish their value and place in our country not only hurts our wallet but also threatens our quality of life.

Given the current divisions in our country, an explicit attack, such as this one, on an already marginalized community does more to harm our country than protect it. Scholars and experts across America agree that trans people form a crucial part of our society and affirm their right to exist and identify themselves. Leaders in the medical community have repeatedly stated and recognize the validity of trans identities. The Administration’s attempt to perpetuate an archaic idea of identity is harmful and shameful.

The right to self-determination and identity is the most basic human right. The fact that this administration could consider adopting such policies that erase legal trans identity and protections makes a bitter mockery of credibility for America. This is a point of dangerous precedence for the global human rights movement, which was once the vanguard of American Foreign Policy.

Those in the transgender community are not going to disappear, and no presidential action will erase them. They are a part of us and are woven into our American collective. While the current president may have claimed he would protect and fight for the LGBT community, it has become painstakingly clear that his fight is against American citizens that have done nothing wrong. The president may not want to protect transgender Americans, but Americans, businesses, and our global community will continue fighting for their protection and inclusion. It may not be the Administration’s position to protect trans individuals, but it is the position of the people to resist these abhorrent threats to our communities and to stand together against erasure and oppression.

Above all, transgender people are human beings. They are American citizens. They are our neighbors and friends. They produce and contribute to our economy, our community, and our country. Fighting to protect their rights, ensures that our government respects our own rights and recognizes the worth of transgender Americans.