Opinion: Transgender Rights-Standing by as Loyal Ally

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During the Obama administration, the LGBTQ community and allies celebrated many victories. We were able to obtain marriage equality nationwide which was a major victory. However, the transgender community still faces many difficulties. One of the last laws Former President Barack Obama passed allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that matched their identifying gender. I was so excited when I heard about it. It was a huge step towards transgender safety and equality.

Recently, new President Donald Trump’s administration took aim at this protection that Obama granted transgender students. Throughout Trump’s campaign, there were many threats made against LGBTQ rights by Trump and Vice President (VP) Mike Pence who has a history of actively opposing LGBTQ rights. As an ally, I was distressed by the possibility that our progress might be rolled back and what that could mean.

Thanks to all of Obama’s policies to support the LGBTQ community, suicide rates have decreased. When Trump became president, fear ran through many members of the LGBTQ community. Many of my friends told me how scared they were of what the future may bring. I was afraid because as an ally, I understood the struggles that we have faced to get to where we are. I was afraid because I had witnessed the hardships that some of my dearest friends had faced before all of these battles had been won. It was terrifying to think that we might go back to those times.

Now that there is a threat of a possible move against transgender students, this fear has returned. Transgender students are once more faced with fear of having to use a bathroom that does not match their gender identity. Allies around the country have expressed their determination to fight to maintain what they have gained and to continue towards equality that the LGBTQ people deserve.

Everyone deserves to be happy, to be accepted, to be comfortable with who they are. We will not stop until this dream, this hope, becomes a reality. I will not stop.

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