On Wednesday, the Trump administration rescinded a guidance protecting the right of transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity in public schools. The next morning, people across the world showed their support for transgender students on social media.
The focal point of this specific battle, and in many ways the debate over mainstream transgender rights in general, has become the right for a trans person to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. On Thursday, I shared an illustration on my Facebook page that gets to the heart of the danger that trans youth face on a daily basis by simply performing a basic bodily function.
While it’s unclear where this image initially came from or who the artist is behind it is, it’s a striking visual representation of why basic protections for trans people are so important ― especially in public schools.
A few hours after I shared the image, the bigots and trolls arrived. Thousands of comments poured in, the majority of which contained the Trash Dove that has become a tool for internet trolls to flood posts with hateful comments.
But there were also a number of more pointed comments that shed a light on why trans youth need not only our personal support, but the legislative help and protection for the government.
These comments, while easy to dismiss as internet drivel, are representative of real people hiding behind computer screens who harbor hatred for the transgender community.
This is not an issue that progressives can afford to remain silent about. Hateful internet commentary like the above is a reminder that there is real and present danger for transgender minors, and it is our responsibility to do what we can.
On March 28, the Supreme Court will hear a case surrounding 17-year-old Gavin Grimm’s fight to use the bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity at his Virginia high school. The results of this case will have profound, longstanding implications for the transgender community on a federal level. Depending on how the Supreme Court decides, this case could either enshrine protections for transgender students nationwide or send these fights back to the states.
Right now there is little we can do about the level of hatred and bigoted language online. But what we can do is make an impact in our individual communities.
Talk to the people in your lives and in your networks about the upcoming SCOTUS case ― and about the hate that trans and gender non-conforming youth deal with on a daily basis. Look into supporting organizations and resources crucial for the transgender community, like Trans Lifeline, the ACLU or the National Center for Transgender Equality. Reach out to trans organizations in your local community and ask what they need.
Compassion begins with education, and it is all of our jobs right now to step up to the plate.