Time for a more trans-inclusive political system

Carmelita Islas Mendez

The Williams Institute is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.

According to research done by the Williams Institute, there are about 700,000 transgender men and women in the United States.

The question would then be: Why are there not more laws protecting this community or political representation?

Some answers could be fear, intimidating opposition or a lack of active role models to encourage political movement.

Transgender men and women have been part of society from the beginning, whether or not they have publicly identified themselves.

In 1992, Althea Garrison had just been elected to be a Massachusetts state legislator.

Garrison was outed as transgender by a former Boston Herald reporter Eric Fehrnstrom, who would later be a notable conservative’s top aid and political strategist.

In 2003, Michelle Bruce ran as a trans woman for Riverdale City Council only to later be accused by her opponent claiming election fraud for not disclosing her transgender status.

We should not let petty politicians and their ‘research’ affect what our society could be just because they feel uncomfortable.

If that were the case surely the same should be to them. These “politicians” make a lot of people uncomfortable.

Voters all over the country have realized that it is not only time to accept transgender people, but to encourage them and have them lead communities.

Political action from the transgender community would not only benefit the general populations by including a marginalized voice, but it would benefit them as well by creating laws to help others cope with the struggles and oppression many LGBT and non-LGBT people face.

Danica Roem of Virginia was recently elected as the first openly transgender legislator in Virginia and the successor to 13-term incumbent Robert G. Marshall, who wrote the bill which banned transgender people from using the restroom that corresponds to their gender.

Roem has taken down a disgusting monster who even called himself the “chief homophobe.”

There is no better feeling than taking down the asshole who feels entitled enough to dictate where people can and cannot use a bathroom and insults an entire community by refusing to address a person by their preferred pronoun.

Roem has not been the only person to make history, there have been other trans men and women who have been been officially elected.

Andrea Jenkins, Lisa Middleton, Tyler Titus, Stephen Koontz and Gerri Cannon are all openly transgender and have a political voice to represent other generations as newly elected officials.

With the introduction of many new transgender politicians, younger generations will now have more role models to chose from, not just well known figures such as Chaz Bono or Caitlyn Jenner.

While being represented in pop culture is positive because, to a small degree, it means acceptance, it is not the end all to the problems many transgender people face.

The entertainment industry cannot give trans people legal protection; legislators and council members are people who can make change to provide legal rights and protections.

The moment has come to where people have to make a choice on whether to be bystanders of a new political movement or to be allies and participate to enact good changes.

It is time to not only give transgender men and women a political voice within the community, but to encourage them to take on more political actions at a higher level.