Protesters speak out against potential anti-transgender policy change
“We create these binaries of what is the norm and what is not the norm. It’s time that people understand it’s not binary in the world, and life is an experience,” said trans-Latina community activist, Naiymah Sanchez.
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Philadelphia’s Love Park on Tuesday afternoon to speak out against a policy change floated by the Trump administration that would deny transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals of official recognition.
According to a report by the New York Times, a Health and Human Services Department memo is considering a legal definition of sex as biological, and gender as exclusively male or female, thus altering the current status of the 1972 Title IX civil rights law that prevents discrimination on the basis of sex.
This misses the point, Naiymah Sanchez, a trans-Latina community activist, told AL DÍA.
“There is a misunderstanding. There is a thought that this is a choice, to ‘be who you are,’ to ‘live your truth,’ and it’s not a choice,” she said.
Sanchez is also a transgender education and advocacy coordinator at the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and one of Tuesday’s protest organizers.
“A choice is to get up in the morning and wear a red shirt. A choice is to eat beef burgers versus a turkey burger. But, to exist as who you are and live in your truth is not a choice,” she continued. “What I’ve seen since day one of this administration is the implementation of fear on the nation, where folks are wanting to pick a side to say, ‘hey I’m going to be safe if I choose this way’ versus the other way.”
It did not take long for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to condemn the Trump administration’s potential policy change.
“The City of Philadelphia does not support this hateful and discriminatory attack on transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals,” he said in an official statement. “This proposed change is an extension of the Trump Administration’s continuing efforts to tear our communities apart by marginalizing and erasing non-cisgender identities. The Trump Administration has consistently targeted marginalized communities and has worked to strip away their basic human rights.”
No concrete action has been taken, yet. Should this make its way to becoming official policy, however, it would effectively reverse the Obama administration’s expansion of Title IX protections to cover discriminations based on assigned sex, gender identity, and transgender status.
“We create these binaries of what is the norm and what is not the norm. It’s time that people understand it’s not binary in the world, and life is an experience,” Sanchez said. “We all have experiences, and to deny one class of individuals the basic human rights is a slap in the face, and is also a step toward denying other communities as well.”
“We exist, we’re Americans, we’re taxpayers, we’re people who are affected by many issues in the United States,” she added.
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