To all whom may read this:
Good day to you. My name is Samantha Ferreira. I’m that geeky, socially awkward girl, whose name you’ve probably seen more than a few times on Anime Herald. I’m a thirty-four year-old American who adores anime and manga, to the point that it’s been my personal mission to report on the industry for the past seventeen years.
I’m also transgender.
Over the past week, I, with many, have watched in horror as the Trump administration has begun to clamp down on the trans community. With each passing day, it seems like another story escapes from the depths of the executive branch outlining acts of malice, of cruelty, toward people who are simply trying to survive.
- On October 21, the New York Times reported that the Department of Health and Human Services was attempting to define “transgender” out of legal existence by establishing a legal definition of “sex” under Title IX that corresponds to birth assignment.
- On October 24, Bloomberg reported the Department of Justice told the Supreme Court that businesses can legally discriminate against workers and customers based on gender identity.
- On October 25, we received word from The Guardian that Mr. Trump’s delegation to the United Nations was making attempts to remove the term “gender” from UN human rights documents.
I could go on, but, well… I’d be here all day. Instead, the best summary I can give is an understatement: “right now, things are bleak.”
As of the last census, 1.4 million Americans identified as transgender. Out of an estimated population of 325,719,178, that means that trans individuals make up just 0.43% of all Americans.
You read that right. Less than a half of a percent of all Americans identify as transgender today. So, to Mr. Trump’s administration’s zealous endeavors to take steps to stomp down on our miniscule, microscopic community, is both abjectly cruel, and utterly terrifying.
If I had to compare this to the anime world (we are on an anime site, after all!), I’d say that it’s like watching Schniezel bearing down upon Pendragon in Code Geass, or the Colossal Titan crushing Wall Maria in Attack on Titan. We’re small, we’re helpless, and we’re not able to fight back on any form of even footing.
Every day of our lives, we face discrimination, hate, and violence. More than 60% have faced assault or harassment, and have had necessities like medical services withheld, due to our identities. 23% of us have faced job loss, homelessness, and even abandonment.
Like the mighty Amuro Ray, who saw his progress stymied in Mobile Suit Gundam due to his Newtype status, people are afraid of us. People distrust us, and fear who we are… though there is nothing to be afraid of.
That’s to say nothing of legislation seeking to ban us from public spaces, or from even doing something as simple as using the proper restroom.
I won’t even begin to dive into the murky territory of “trans panic” defenses in court, which have been successfully employed to justify violence and murder in cases running as late as 2015.
Perhaps most chilling of all, though, is the sheer human cost that this everyday existence charges upon us: more than 41% of all transgender individuals have attempted suicide at one point in their lives.
So, to see the current administration bearing down to stomp upon the trans community, is to witness nothing short of pure, black-hearted malice.
Now, let me ask you a question: Have you ever watched a show like Crest of the Stars and wondered why nobody thought to fight back against the Abh? Have you ever sat, incredulous, and questioned how Shimoneta’s oppressive future world, where people wear shock collars to keep their impulses in check, could come to pass? Do you ever wonder why people would allow the atrocities of the World Government in One Piece, or Saber Marionette J‘s Gartlant empire?
Tell me if any of these sound familiar:
“I have a job career to worry about.”
“I have a family.”
“There are more important things to worry about.”
“It’ll work itself out.”
“I’m just one person.”
“It doesn’t affect me.”
While the settings I’ve discussed are fictional, they share remarkable parallels to the world we live in today. And, well, much of what we’re seeing now is the beginning of a very rapid slide. We’ll be told that it’s impossible to change course, that we need to wait for a friendlier administration. We’ll be told that it takes patience, and that things will get better come 2020.
To quote a dear friend of mine, “We can’t stop being trans for two years.”
Right now, every single day, this is the horror we face. This is the burden we shoulder, as our politicians throw us under the bus as they schmooze for votes, and the mainstream media sweeps us under the rug, because we’re “inconvenient.”
If something isn’t done, the attacks will only grow more virulent. Right now, the trans community is terrified. We’re facing our greatest threat in what seems like forever, and many of us feel like we’re going it alone.
We need friends… family… allies to stand with us, united in the face of this oppression. We need your help. We need you to call your congressmen and senators to help shut down the slander, and to ensure that our voices are heard with the same volume as yours.
And, most important of all, we need you. We’re just a microcosm of this country, but we’re fighting back with everything we have… because the moment we relent, the moment we fall.
I implore each and every one of you. Please, give us a voice. Help us to live our peaceful lives.
Let us know, for just a few, fleeting moments, what true safety and security feels like.
Even if it’s just for this moment in history, please speak out with us.
Donate to the Transgender Law Center
Please consider making a donation to the Transgender Law Center. They are a transgender-led national organization, which fights for transgender rights.