Photo by Getty Images: Pride

On July 26, 2017, on the 69th anniversary of President Harry S. Truman desegregating the United States military, the Trump administration announced that it would be banning transgender individuals from serving in the military. The policy, supported by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, was blocked by several lower courts.

But today, just one day after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into full effect.

The Trump administration’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military is just one of the many ways anti-transgender bigots have gone about disempowering and marginalizing the transgender community in the United States. To this day, state legislatures and governors in states like South Dakota are working tirelessly to legalizing anti-transgender discrimination. Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education rescinded transgender protections established under the Obama administration.

The problem is compounded by the fact that there are currently no federal protections for the transgender community. Unless states and municipalities choose differently, discriminating against transgender Americans is entirely legal. Transgender people can be fired and denied housing, healthcare, and service simply for being ourselves.

House Democratic leadership has pledged to pass the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s a start, but it’s not good enough.

The transgender community needs comprehensive federal protections that will not only outlaw discrimination but actively ensure that transgender people are affirmed in healthcare, granted the privacy all Americans deserve, included in public education, and not subjected to the harmful and scientifically debunked practice of “conversion therapy.”

Brand New Congress is committed to proactively supporting the transgender community by not only putting forth a detailed transgender rights platform but also supporting transgender members of our team and recruiting transgender candidates to run for office.

Change can only come by the hands of the people. To truly secure the civil and human rights of all LGBTQ Americans, we need representation at all levels of government. It is far past time that we elect transgender Americans to Congress.

In the words of Dr. King, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Support our mission to build a Brand New Congress that fights for justice for every one of us.

 

Jordan Valerie Allen is the Chief Policy Strategist for Brand New Congress and host of the Brand New Podcast; a filmmaker, journalist, political activist, and proud queer woman of color dedicated to civil rights, civic engagement, and diversity. Jordan Valerie also hosts podcasts and blogs for Millennial Politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jordanvalallen.