Today is the Transgender Day of Visibility, or TDOV for short, in 2022 and the state of things in America could not be any worse.
I am an Orthodox Jewish transgender woman and frequently use these pages to write about film and television. Sometimes, my words are on other outlets like Below the Line or elsewhere. But right now, I cannot stay silent even though I would prefer nothing more than to just discuss film and TV.
I’ve written a lot on my site over the past month not so much about movies but the attacks on transgender rights. It is sickening that conservatives continue to degrade the transgender people. In states where maybe four trans athletes even play sports, Republicans feel the need to ban them. Think about the message this sends. There is a massive problem when an athlete qualifies under the sport governing body standards but not Republican standards. It is nothing more than an all-out culture war that seeks to see transgender people–such as myself–legislated out of existence.
This is why, more than ever, we need the Equality Act passed right now. Forget how Joe Manchin or Krysten Sinema feel about how it could impact their reelections. How do you think those of us in the trans community feel? It is frankly exhausting. We need this act passed RIGHT NOW. Transgender rights are under attack all across the country. I am losing an increasing number of states every week because of the government making it illegal for transgender athletes to play sports or prevent gender-affirming doctors from providing transgender healthcare. This is not my America. It is far from ethical under any means to prevent a doctor from providing such healthcare.
If Ron DeSantis and all these other conservatives had their way, I would still be in the closet. I needed the education and awareness to know what was happening in the 1990s and early 2000s! However, they don’t want people having any of this! Maybe I wouldn’t have spent so many years reading and writing transgender fiction without getting to the source of why I was doing it. Do you know how much of a time suck that is? Do you know how many late nights were spent on that? As soon as I came out as trans, all of said reading stopped. It was no longer necessary because of dysphoria finally being treated.
Any state that signs transphobic bigotry will not be getting any of my money. I’m sorry but this also includes film festivals that are sadly getting caught up in the crossfire. I love Sundance and SXSW but no, I cannot step foot in Utah and Texas because of transphobic bigotry. It does not matter how welcoming a film festival is when the state will use the taxes for paying their transphobic defense fund. This is especially what’s happening in Utah and I encourage everyone to think twice before they decide to attend Sundance next year. Without sending a strong message, other states will just follow through and pass similar laws. Some cisgender film critics might not see it this way but they’re coming from a place of privilege.
I’ve written about how media can play a role in one’s coming out. Look no further than a piece that I wrote during Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019 as a result of attending Ashley Eckstein’s Sisters of the Force panel. I’m grateful to those editors who have given me a platform to share my story or even better, allow me to write about things that are not about being transgender. The best piece of advice given to me from an editor in entertainment journalism is to not box myself in and write about just trans things. I’m not boxing myself in but with the state of trans rights being where they are in 2022: I cannot afford to stay silent. Silence is complicity! Nobody should be staying silent right now. Even if you’re cisgender, you should be standing up for transgender rights.
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