Day of Action for Trans Rights Amidst Growing Anti-Trans Bigotry

Person wrapped in trans flag next to a protest
Image: Jerome

This year saw a record number of anti-trans laws and attacks.

In 2022, over 300 transphobic laws were passed across America, and as of June, 25 of those laws have been passed. Many bills have focused on denying and/or criminalizing gender-affirming care, some being so extreme that trans people and their families leave their home states and relocate to where they live legal rights for trans people are already anchored.

Popular online outlets like Libs of Tiktok have spread lies about a major children’s hospital’s gender-affirming care program, prompting a spate of harassment and violent threats against the doctors that have piled into a bomb threat.

“On August 19, Marjorie Taylor Greene introduced a bill with a very misleading title, the Protect Children’s Innocence Act,” said Tsukuru Fors, a transgender member of the Progressive Asian Network for Action and a lifelong anti-war and anti-nuclear activist. If this law passes Congress, it would be a crime to provide gender-affirming care to minors, ban federal funds from the use of gender-affirming care (including hospitals and health insurance companies that rely on federal subsidies), and ban and prevent colleges from providing their students with a provide gender-affirming care.

“This year has been a terrible year for state legislators, but this federal law has really shocked and upset me,” Fors continued. “When I heard the news, I thought we should call for a day of action across the country.”

Fors planned a day of action — an anti-corporate, anti-cop event in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month — with Duane Paul Murphy, a queer cis activist who supports each other in the San Fernando Valley with groups like Resistance Coalition LA and QueerXCellance .

“With this transphobia rampant across the country, now is the time to step it up to show support and solidarity with all trans and non-binary people,” Murphy said.

While California appears safe from these anti-trans attacks due to its tough laws protecting trans residents and its recent status as a haven for trans people fleeing the Red States, the reality on the ground tells a different story .

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“Although California has strong human rights laws regarding transgender people, the laws are worthless if not enforced,” said Precious Child, a trans musician and activist who was the target of a far-right harassment campaign last year. “I’ve received public death threats nationwide since Tucker Carlson reported [the transphobic protests at] Wi Spa four days in a row in 2021. Not a single politician has spoken out against violence against trans people [during those protests], nor did he condemn the protest against transgender rights. So legal protection was of no use to me.”

According to a report by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, trans people face higher levels of economic hardship and carry a much higher level of psychological distress than the average Angeleno. Despite making up less than 1% of the Los Angeles population, trans women are at highest risk of HIV exposure. The report also found that trans people are disproportionately victims of victimization and discrimination by medical providers, social service providers and the police.

“No matter what protest I’m at, LAPD and LASD constantly berate me with transphobic slurs,” said Audrey Plath, a transgender musician who runs the queer and women-centric studies group Books And Bricks LA. “Male officers joke that I’m ‘not a woman.’ In recent years there has been a tremendous increase in the number of ordinary people who are outwardly and openly transphobic. Nowhere is safe, not even in Los Angeles.”

There are several examples of growing anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ protests, often ending in violence, that are erupting in and around Los Angeles. Disney headquarters in Burbank was targeted by far-right protesters last spring over a viral transphobic and homophobic conspiracy theory about “groomers.” Riverside Pride was disrupted by far-right street violence last month and at least two Burbank Pride attendees last week were attacked of a far-right counter-protester attempting to storm the stage where speakers were presenting.

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The Arizona group MOM Army is Organizing a caravan of anti-trans protesters to drive to the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday, October 8th to protest the American Academy of Pediatrics Convention for recognizing the health benefits of gender-affirming care.

“I don’t think people realize how much trans people are being used as a focal point for far-right groups that wouldn’t otherwise have worked together,” Plath said. “We really need a queer united front against burgeoning fascism because it will raise its head in all areas. If we don’t start working together, we will never get trans liberation — or any liberation at all.”

Plath worked with Fors and Murphy to organize the National Day of Action To End Violence and Genocide On Transgender People, which took place on October 1st. The day began in Grand Park, where attendees gathered to listen to a variety of speakers. The lineup included Maebe A. Girl, a trans nonbinary drag queen and candidate for California’s 30th congressional district, and Mrs Italya homeless black trans woman and housing justice activist.

Also among the speakers was a representative from the Starbucks union.

“People might be wondering: How are trans rights and Starbucks related?” Fors said. “It’s actually quite easy for me because trans rights are also labor rights. Many trans people are illegally fired or harassed to the point that we have to leave our jobs, so labor rights are really critical issues that trans people face. Also, Starbucks is telling transgender and non-binary workers that if they vote for a union, their health insurance may stop covering gender-affirming care.”

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In addition to unions, Fors and Murphy coordinated the National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice (NMRJ), a group dedicated to fighting for the right to reproductive health care and physical autonomy, to spread the call to action in other cities.

Fors also used TikTok and the Trans Radical Activist Network to spread the word about the event, bringing the total number of cities participating in the Trans Day of Action to 15.

“I just had to make the call because this really is the time — not just for transgender and non-binary communities, but also for allies, to stand up with us and make it clear that the American people have suffered such a terrible violation of the… doesn’t endorse people’s rights,” Fors said.

Los Angeles’ Trans Day of Action included a march to Pershing Square and organizers distributed food and water to people living along the route.

“Participants were very open about their experiences and excited to be there,” said ChiChi La Pinga, a Mexican-American Agender activist and speaker at the Trans Day of Action. “The event left me full of energy, motivation and anticipation for future events. During my speech I addressed the fact that like any “family” we have our disagreements but come together in times of need. After all, we are a community, we are a family, we are LGBTQIA+.”

“No matter where we are, we must show solidarity and support and practice mutual aid and direct action,” Murphy said. “This is how we achieve our goals of basic human rights for all.”

“The optimistic part of me,” Fors added, “thinks we’re working towards a moment where all these movements — trans and non-binary rights, labor rights, reproductive rights — come together so we can have human rights and a dignified life.” can reach for everyone.”