Lawyers offer trans Americans free legal help before Trump takes over
The election of Donald Trump devastated Americans of marginalized identities, and while Trump didn’t prioritize transgender Americans in his hate-driven campaign, many feel unsafe given his commitment to fighting LGBTQ rights. After all, a Supreme Court featuring a justice nominated by Trump will soon decide the fate of the overarching transgender bathroom issue. Trump opposes gay marriage and, alongside Vice President-elect Mike Pence, a supporter of gay conversion therapy, lives by the intolerant politics of evangelical conservatives. That being said, because good people remain in this world no matter how endlessly it screws them over, lawyers are offering trans Americans free legal help before Trump takes office.
Under the Twitter hashtag #TransLawHelp, lawyers across the country are offering pro bono services to trans Americans trying to take legal action to ensure their gender identities are recognized. In the thread, trans people unsure about name and gender changes on ID’s and documents, healthcare services, navigating discrimination, and struggles with raising money can find tweets by lawyers encouraging them to send over their questions.
Trans Americans who aren’t lawyers but have advice for a variety of different legal processes they have personally experienced are also taking to the hashtag. All in all, it’s a positive and helpful community for a group of Americans terrified by what Trump and Pence will mean for their lives over the course of these next four years.
The fears of trans Americans has already led to a record number of calls to crisis hotlines, and the election of Trump has also been associated with at least eight trans people dying of suicide on election night alone. This is hardly melodrama, and to cast it as such would be devastatingly ignorant. Transgender Americans know the agenda being pushed by Trump and Pence could drastically change their lives for the worse.
Trump’s administration will focus on “freedom of religion,” which the GOP largely defines as the freedom of employers to persecute and marginalize gay people, sexually active women, and of course, transgender Americans. Depending on where they work and where they live, LGBTQ people could lose their jobs, their houses, and their livelihoods. Stringent laws will inevitably be pushed by Trump’s administration to make applying changes to one’s documentation incredibly difficult. Above all, extremely limited access to healthcare could render therapy and procedures unobtainable and make life that much harder for trans people.
On the overarching transgender bathroom issue, on which Trump has maintained radio silence to pander to his base, it’s no secret what course of action he would take given the chance. Just as Obama was open to using executive power to protect trans youth from discrimination and harassment, Trump could be open to enabling those who persecute trans youth. It’s no exaggeration to say that the state of the transgender bathroom war dictates transgender Americans’ standard of living.
Cast as demons, pedophiles, and attackers of cisgender women and children, the trans community is made exponentially more unsafe. Already, they are the ones more likely to be harassed and attacked in bathrooms. Meanwhile, there has been no shortage of documented cases of Republicans stirring up sexual misconduct in bathrooms, and virtually none of trans Americans doing so. That a right-leaning Supreme Court of Trump’s design could ultimately preside over this issue very soon offers no comfort whatsoever, but at the very least, we know that the American Civil Liberties Union and pro-LGBTQ lawyers across the nation are not going to take transphobia lightly.