Friday, November 11, 2016

Love and Protect the Vulnerable Among Us

by Gregg Chadwick

Dear Loved Ones,
As you know Tuesday’s election results have released a toxic brew of misogyny, anti LGBT, anti immigrant, anti global warming, and outright racist actions and rhetoric from out of control Trump supporters.
There is so much hate out there for trans folks - as well as lesbians and gays and people of color.
People have asked me what they can do. First off - love and protect the vulnerable among us.
Words are not enough. Action is needed so that our families and communities feel protected from the hate.

The California Legislature has stated such in no uncertain terms:
"By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.
The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.
California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.
California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility."

Here are some actions that you can take now that were originally presented on the Huffington Post by Alex Berg. I have edited and added my own thoughts to her list.
1. Be physically present. Gender nonconforming and transgender Americans already face disproportionate violence and criminalization across the country, which has been exacerbated by laws dictating which bathrooms trans folk can use. Similarly, those in same-sex partnerships still face violence and harassment when together. You can offer to accompany LGBTQ people to the bathroom, walk with us outside, sit next to us on the subway and stand beside us in other spaces to ensure that we have an ally who can provide a physical presence in unsafe spaces.

2. Donate to LGBTQ organizations and people. If Trump and Pence do what they say, queer organizations will be gearing up for legal battles. You can ensure that these organizations can do this work by throwing them some coin. Check out Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, It Gets Better Project (to combat LGBTQ bullying), and the Lorena Borjas Community Fund, which provides funding to bail out queer detainees. If you want to donate directly to LGBTQ people, you can search GoFundMe for those raising funds for transition-related healthcare, which is not covered by most insurance.

3. Get involved with your school board or PTA. Parents, this one’s for you. The Supreme Court will hear its first transgender case this spring about Gavin Grimm, a 17 year-old transgender boy who is fighting for the right to use the male restroom at school. Grimm’s case will decide the fate for transgender young people across the country, while Trump has said he would rescind existing guidelines that advise schools to allow trans kids to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. But, you don’t have to wait for that to happen. Agitate on your PTA committees and before your school boards about their policies for transgender students. Are there gender-neutral restrooms at your school? What are the policies for locker rooms and sports teams? And, are teachers and administrators actively supporting LGBTQ student alliances? Even if you don’t have an LGBTQ-identified kid yourself, you can help bring attention to their safety.

4. Recognize that queer people also face racism and other forms of discrimination. Trump has used racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric during the duration of his campaign, which has resulted in an uptick in hate crimes. documented daily on twitter and other social media platforms  LGBTQ people of color face homophobia, transphobia and misogyny that is racialized, meanwhile queer Muslims face profiling as both Muslims and LGBTQ people. We can amplify the voices of queer people of color by sharing their stories and statuses and centering them in LGBTQ spaces. Learning about intersectional identities is just one click away.

5. Become LGBTQ culturally-competent in your field. If you are a doctor, lawyer, teacher, waiter or in virtually any field, you can educate yourself to provide competent care to queer people, use the correct language when coming into contact with us and volunteer your skills to help us. It is difficult to find doctors who can meet our specific healthcare needs, but there are resources you can use to educate yourself. If you are a lawyer, you can volunteer your legal skills to help us navigate the criminal justice system or to acquire accurate documentation. And, if you work in any field, you can educate yourself about correct terminology and always be on the look out for bullying, harassment and violence.

6. Contact your local lawmakers. The backlash against queer rights isn’t just happening federally. North Carolina’s bill #HB2 which walked back LGBTQ protections and made it illegal for trans people to use the appropriate bathroom was a house bill, passed by legislators who were elected at a local level. Find out who your local representatives are and where they stand on LGBTQ rights. Then, give their office a call. Here is a tool by Common Cause that will help you find your elected official ->

7. By fastening a safety pin to their clothing, people are declaring themselves allies to folks who have been maligned by Trump and his followers, to show that they stand in solidarity with anyone who might be afraid. 

8. Support progressive journalism such as Mother Jones or the Nation

As the son of a Marine I was taught at a young age how to fight and how to win.
We lost a significant battle on Tuesday night. Our LGBT family and friends are in tears.
They are afraid that their families will be torn apart.
After hugging my wife and daughter this morning, I got to work.
I will fight with my pen, and my brush and my physical presence when needed. 
Feel free to join up with me on Facebook or follow me on twitter. We need to create a movement to prove that Love does trump hate.

So much more to come.
Sending my love


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