2021 is on track to become the worst year for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation—particularly, legislation against the trans community. Over 250 bills have been introduced into state legislatures, with 8 already enacted into law. These bills disproportionately affect trans students, preventing them from playing school sports, or using bathrooms and locker rooms that match their identity, as well as forbidding discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in the classroom.
These bills are being passed in rapid succession and will result only in pain for the LGBTQ+ community. Lives are also on the line. Thirty-five bills have been introduced that would prohibit trans youth from accessing gender-affirming healthcare. Forty-three bills are waiting to deny LGBTQ+ people vital services, including access to domestic violence services and homeless shelters.
As someone who lives under constant threat of being unhoused due to my identity, empty platitudes from politicians do not bring me comfort. Words won’t stop me from getting kicked out, getting denied healthcare, or getting killed.
We need radical change.
We need to look at the root of these problems.
Instead of asking, “How can we make sure LGBTQ+ people can access homeless shelters?”, we can ask, “How can we make sure everybody has a permanent place to live?” Instead of asking, “How can we make sure insurance providers don’t discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community?”, we can ask, “How do we make healthcare guaranteed for all?” The answers to those questions aren’t achievable under the system we live in right now.
The bigotry and violence LGBTQ+ people experience every day is inherent to Capitalism (read: system where the economy and government is controlled by the wealthy, rather than the people). No amount of pandering or commodification by politicians or corporations is going to make sure every trans kid or gay kid is safe.
To ensure that LGBTQ+ youth can grow up and live freely, we need to build a system that affirms life. One that affirms all our lives. If we want freedom, safety, justice, and peace, we need to organize to get it. Because, as those 250 bills indicate, no one is going to give it to us.
Visit pslweb.org to get involved!