TW: transphobia, violence
March 1st marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, a time to remember all the women who fought for their rights in the past, as well as those who continue to fight against the systems of oppression put in place. The world has become an increasingly dangerous place for trans women and with all of the new laws and regulations put on women’s bodies, the rights and safety of women around the world is still an incredibly important issue which isn’t getting enough attention.
On February 11th, 2023, Brianna Ghey was murdered at only 16-years-old after facing extreme bullying by peers for being transgender. Unfortunately, her case is not rare as trans women and girls continue to be the targets of assault and harassment. Two 15-year-olds were charged for her murder, however, the tragedy has yet to be declared a hate crime. Given the circumstances, it is clear that Brianna was murdered simply because she was a trans woman.
While Brianna may have lived in the UK, Canada is not free from transphobia as many anti-trans views have started to become increasingly popular over the years. While the population has never been completely accepting of trans identities, it seems as though we are starting to regress on the progress that has been made. Trans suicide is at an all-time high as their existance becomes a battle they must constantly fight. Anna Murphy, a Canadian trans woman, states, “we’re exhausted from constantly having to debate our existence. We’re exhausted by constantly trying to self-advocate in the face of ignorance.”
The fight for allowing gender-affirming care for youths is forever ongoing with seemingly no end in sight as misinformation causes many to believe it is dangerous or ‘mutilation’ to someone’s body, rather than seeing it as genuine health care as any other procedure would be. In 2021, over 100 anti-trans legislations were proposed in the United States, many targeting minors. Among these include removing gender identity as a protected class, banning the education of LGBTQ+ topics in schools, and banning gender-affirming care to youths, even after it has been proven on multiple occasions to help prevent suicidal ideation. In 2022, almost 300 anti-trans bills were proposed, and so far in 2023, 124 bills have been proposed in the U.S. against the LGBTQ+ community, many of which target the transgender population. It is clear the United States has nothing but hatred towards its trans youth as it is becoming increasingly dangerous to live there as a trans person.
Many transphobes will hide under the label of being a feminist, claiming to care about all women, while really only caring about cis women. These Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists are not really feminists, as it is impossible to be considered a feminist while only caring about some women, rather than all women. Many TERFs have very public platforms, such as J.K. Rowling, and use their influence to push this narrative and promote these harmful ideals, all under the name of feminism. Many TERFs will harbor the idea that trans women are dangerous, and will often exclude them from women-only spaces, even though they are women themselves who deserve to be a part of these communities.
My heart goes out to Brianna and everyone impacted by her death, as well as to all trans women who should be celebrated this month. It is important to remember the work that trans women of colour have done for the rights and protection of the LGBTQ+ community. Trans women are women, trans men are men, non-binary people are valid, and TERFs can never be considered real feminists.