It’s a blustery fall Monday, and activists are piling into a small apartment in west Arvada. There isn’t much sitting room, so they perch on folding chairs, the floor, or whatever is available. Although it’s a gorgeous day in the foothills, there is a serious purpose behind this living room gathering.
Brianna Titone, a trans woman running for House District 27 in Jefferson County, is doing her final push for canvasing before the November 6 election. Eager friends and volunteers crowd together to get their list of names and bundles of brochures for door-to-door work. Danica Roem, the trans woman who was successfully elected to the legislature in Virginia, is there to cheer her on.
“It has never been more important than it is now that we elect people who are willing to do the right thing,” Titone told the crowded room. “I’m one of those candidates.”
The recently-leaked memo is certainly discouraging, if not dehumanizing, to trans folks and those who support them. It implies that, if put into effect, gender would be treated like sex. Therefore, it wouldn’t be possible for individuals to legally identify as nonbinary or as a gender that doesn’t line up with their genitals, effectively erasing trans people as legal citizens. Not only is this discriminatory, it is not in line with current scientific views, which consider sex and gender to be two different things.
Following the announcement, activists took to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their anger and and action against the hateful memo. They also took to the streets and marched on Washington.
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) October 21, 2018
On Sunday, a memo draft from Dept. of Health & Human Services was leaked that threatens our community and the protections we need to survive. As trans youth, we will fight for our voices to be heard & we call on you to show up.
Sign/share our petition: https://t.co/rZTafLrfJr
— Trans Youth (TRUTH) Program (@ourtranstruth) October 22, 2018
According to New Now Next, Trump responded to the anger against the leaked memo by claiming that he is doing what is in the best interest of the country and by dodging questions and not giving direct answers.
“We’re looking at it. We have a lot of different concepts right now. They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender (sic) right now,” he said. “I’m protecting everybody. I want to protect our country.”
With all of this happening at the national level, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear Roem or Titone predicting the worst. But these two political leaders weren’t standing up complaining or bemoaning their fate. They were both certain that with with the right amount of political leadership, real change could be made.
“This is the product of what happens when you refuse to be lost to apathy,” Roem said about the living room gathering in support of Titone. “After what happened yesterday in Washington I wanted to come here today and talk to you… I’m here today at a time when our very existence, without hyperobole, the actual reality based on vetted facts, is that they are trying to scrub us. They are trying to say we don’t exist. If you’re an elected official, how the hell can you do constituent service if you don’t even acknowledge that your constituents exist for who they really are? How are you supposed to serve your constituents when you are attacking them? We’ve got to elect inclusive leaders.”
In spite of the overwhelmingly negative atmosphere in Washington, local politicians are still doing everything they can to fight back. This, both women urge, is why it is so important to get out there and vote on November 6, not only for those in Titone’s district, but for all registered voters. Roem won her seat from a conservative man and was able to make change in her district, and she thinks that with enough shake-up and political shift, others can do the same.
What is happening nationally is definitely frightening, but with members of the trans community here in our own backyard so sure that we can overcome and succeed, it is hard to be disheartened, even in the face of discouraging news and policy.