When Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), held up a “TRANS AF” t-shirt at a fundraising event in New York City Monday night, the question that popped into my head was, Trans Air Force? Then she told the audience that when she first saw it, she thought people were going to think it was for some sort of Transgender Air Force. I wasn’t sure why everyone was laughing until she explained for those of us (like me) who were “old” like her that AF is modern-day slang for “As Fuck.”
Based on everything she told us about the NCTE Action Fund, I couldn’t wait to slap on a “FIERCE AF” sticker and order a “FIERCE AF” t-shirt. And if I’m not saying “fierce as fuck” every day, I’m surely thinking it as I focus on actions needed to fight the actions taken by the most anti-LGBTQ President and administration in our country’s history.
These are deeply troubling and often-terrifying times for transgender and gender nonconforming people, especially trans and gender nonconforming children. People are being harmed. And if you’re a person of color, Muslim, an immigrant, a woman, or disabled, we know that discrimination is compounded.
“We have not come this far to only come this far.” ~Mara Keisling
In just a few weeks, it will be 15 years that NCTE has worked to influence policy and society at the local, state and federal levels. Around the country in the last three years NCTE has faced almost 150 anti-trans bills at the state level, and they beat every one of them with the exception of HB2, North Carolina’s so-called Bathroom Bill, which sanctioned discrimination against transgender people.
But NCTE hadn’t been able to endorse trans candidates or criticize discriminatory legislators up for re-election, until now that is. Last month it launched the NCTE Action Fund as an assertive political advocacy organization to increase the strength and capacity of the movement to better respond to attacks and the rollback of civil rights protections for nearly two million transgender people in the U.S.
Here’s what the Action Fund will be able to do:
- Endorse and help to elect transgender candidates;
- Mobilize trans voters and their families with new tools;
- Hold policymakers accountable when they attack the trans community to show them the price of discrimination;
- Fight bills at the state and federal levels that take aim at transgender people, especially those targeting children;
- And elect a president that believes in fairness for everyone.
The NCTE Action Fund is needed now more than ever, because the Republican administration and Republican lawmakers are aggressively coming after transgender and gender nonconforming kids. According to Mara, at the Values Voter Summit a few weeks ago, they held workshops about how to hurt transgender kids, not by accusing trans kids or by attacking trans kids directly, but by saying other kids are in danger because of them. This is not okay!
“We have not come this far to only come this far,” Keisling said, recalling her meeting with President Obama two years ago this month to thank him for all he’d done for trans people. And she’s right about not stopping. We need to stand up, speak up and fight back. With every attack, trans people and their families and allies will get stronger. Please do whatever you can to help the NCTE Action Fund strengthen the movement for fairness and equality and lead it further forward. We will win. Because we’re fierce as fuck!
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