Trans day of Visibility

Visibility is Not Enough: We Need Gender Liberation

Dear beloved BWC community,

Today, March 31, is Trans Day of Visibility, honoring the lives and contributions of trans people around the world. Now, more than ever, cisgender people are coming to a better understanding of how visibility for transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming peoples can be bittersweet: as we become more visible, we are more openly targeted. 487 anti-trans bills have been introduced so far this year. The HRC released data indicating that over half of trans youth have lost or will lose access to the gender-affirming care that they need. Our youth, our families, and our communities are being targeted by neo-Nazis, legislators, CPS, police, medical professionals, and other actors to prevent us from living full lives.

And, in the midst of this spike, we must also recognize that simply stopping bills, raising awareness of transphobia, and saying, “Protect trans kids” will not be enough. What is being formalized in legislation has long been true: gender-affirming healthcare has always been out of reach for those who are most vulnerable in our community. Our Black and brown community members have already had to live under the threat of CPS. And we, as Jews, understand all too well the seriousness of neo-Nazi mobilization, and the experience of being a scapegoat for those in power.

To truly act with us, we need our cis accomplices to prepare themselves, to cultivate relationships with their gender(s) the way in which we as trans people do. The arguments we see now focused on the protection of cis women’s bodies come at a time of increased attacks on transfeminine bodies, and when trans women and transfeminine people have gifted us the incredible opportunity of the opening of womanhood. The only path forward is for cis men and women to do the hard work of being in touch with their own genders, to understand how cisheteropatriarchy has constricted their lives, to come to terms with the fact that we often accept deals offered by those in power that claim to guarantee us safety if we allow those among us living on the margins to be made disposable. True safety will not come from ostracizing trans women, or the denial of trans children’s self-knowledge, or the assimilation into the proscribed gender roles instituted by patriarchy.

True safety comes when each of us understands our stake in dismantling patriarchy, when we divest from carceral punishment systems, and when we build and fund the efforts that will nourish our communities in body, mind, and spirit. Each of us has the choice to answer the call and achieve true liberation, for ourselves, our communities, our children, our grandchildren, our ancestors, and those who may never know what we worked to accomplish. Now is the time to deepen our own self-knowledge, to take back our gender autonomy, and to rebuild our relationship to gender in a way that both honors our existing identities, and permits us openness to new understandings, experiences, and ambiguities.

Visibility of trans people is an important step in our advocacy, and, ultimately, what we need is not visibility; what we need is what all people need—gender liberation, that those past, present, and future will be able to exist as their full selves, without fear, showered in love.

In solidarity,
Zohar Berman
Social Justice & Cultural Organizer

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