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  • Writer's pictureMichael Goettler

Why We Need to Stand Up for Trans Rights Now More Than Ever


trans rights

Pride Month is a celebration of the many contributions made by the LGBTQ+ community to our history and society. The past few years, however, have been challenging for many in the community, with support waning from its peak after marriage equality became law in 2015.


Typically, progress is not linear, and there have been noticeable setbacks in the past couple of years, most notably for the transgender community. This year, it’s crucial to address the increasingly hostile political environment targeting transgender rights in the United States. A sharp rise in anti-trans bills at the state level seeks to restrict the rights and recognition of transgender individuals in various aspects of public life.


Legislative Attacks on Transgender Rights


From banning access to gender-affirming healthcare to prohibiting participation in sports aligned with gender identity, these legislative measures seek to marginalize and erase transgender people from public view. The rapid increase in such bills reflects a troubling trend of using transgender issues as a political battleground, further stigmatizing an already vulnerable community.


This legislative onslaught has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty within the transgender community. In 2021, 144 anti-trans bills were introduced across 37 states, including Arkansas' "SAFE Act," which banned gender-affirming care despite a gubernatorial veto.


The following year saw 174 bills, many of which imposed draconian restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare, defined binary gender roles in law, and stigmatized LGBTQ+ presence in schools. By 2023, there was a record-breaking number of bills targeting transgender rights, including proposals to criminalize healthcare providers and restrict public acknowledgment of transgender individuals. In 2024, there have been 593 anti-trans bills filed so far, leaving the transgender community to fight for their right to exist. This mounting coordinated effort to marginalize transgender people emphasizes the urgent need for advocacy and support.



anti-trans

There is a growing concern that hard-won progress in transgender rights could be undone, leaving the community feeling increasingly isolated and erased. Highlighting these issues during Pride Month is crucial; the call must be for solidarity and advocacy to combat this wave of discrimination.


I recently started serving as an advisor to GRACE (Gender Research Advisory Council + Education), a newly established nonprofit organization supporting transgender rights and providing essential resources. It plays a crucial role in the fight against the rising tide of anti-trans legislation by offering data-driven, fact-based arguments to counter discriminatory laws and policies.


Standing Strong and Advocating for Equal Rights


Transgender people are part of our workplaces, communities, and families; they deserve dignity and respect. My long-time friend, GRACE Founder Alaina Kupec focuses on advocating for gender-affirming healthcare, challenging legal barriers, and raising awareness about the human impact of legislative attacks. The organization provides data-driven, fact-based arguments to counter discriminatory laws and policies, striving to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for transgender people.


At Pride Month events this year, the LGBTQ+ community will celebrate progress under a cloud of uncertainty, with FBI warnings of anti-LGBTQ violence. It is a challenging time to stand proud, but I hope other allies will make public affirmations of support for those in the community.

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