Editorial: Policy pushes punishment

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Illustration by Madison Moore

The U.S. government is reportedly considering policy changes that would attempt to definitionally “erase” transgender and non-binary people from federal civil rights law.

In practice, this could make it nearly impossible for many transgender individuals to get a driver’s license or passport, go to the doctor for basic medical care, get food stamps or rent an apartment.

An attack on marginalized people from the administration behind family separation policies and Muslim travel bans is hardly a surprise. However, the world cannot pretend that this is the first time that the lives of transgender people have been used as a political pawn.

Make no mistake about it, every word President Donald Trump and his administration have against transgender people is about power and it reflects a long history of hiding violent and exclusionary policy behind claims about “the natural order of things.”

We, the Viewpoints Editorial Board, believe that the actions of the president and his administration are dangerous and will have a body count if the world doesn’t stand up and shout.

Transgender people belong to a community whose civil rights seem to depend on which party is in power, it is difficult to feel respected or safe. Under the Obama administration, after years of advocacy work, they were given a taste of equality.

Overtly anti-trans sentiment are hardly new and have come from the top down of the burgeoning gay rights movement, both inside and outside the LGBT movement.

Even as we speak, the dangerous plans of the Trump administration have already began to fade from the headlines as if the lives of a long marginalized group of people aren’t being threatened.

At stake now is the legal status of some 1.4 million American adults who define their gender as different from their biological sex at birth. While gay and lesbian Americans have seen broad acceptance in recent years, rights for transgender people are far more polarizing.

If  Trump’s administration carries out their heinous plans, it will further create a culture that makes courts feel more confident in ruling against transgender people and expand on an environment that allows violence against them.

When asked by The Washington Post about his promise to protect LGBT people, Trump replied: “You know what I’m doing? I’m protecting everybody.”