By ROZWELL SIMMONS
— NEW HAVEN, CONN. — In a leaked memo published by The New York Times on Oct. 21, the Trump administration called for federal agencies to “define sex as male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” Alarmed by this persecuting and transphobic policy, members of the LGBTQI community across the country have started to take action, uniting behind the hashtag and rallying cry “won’t be erased.”
On Oct. 27, over 200 people came together in New Haven, Conn., to rally for trans rights. Originally planned to take place outside, the demonstration was moved into the United Church on the Green’s parish house due to rain. The event was co-sponsored by a total of 36 organizations and activist groups, including the Party for Socialism and Liberation CT, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, True Colors, Trans Lifeline, Triangle Community Center. Much of the event was a “speakout” during which organizations gave speeches.
A University of Connecticut Youth for Socialist Action member spoke at the rally on behalf of Socialist Action Connecticut:
“In another reactionary swing at our very livelihoods, Trump and his administration are making moves to systematically marginalize us. Without any policy even yet being into place, for example, Trump’s memo erases intersex folks. It is important to recognize why they are doing this; it’s not as simple as bigotry, although I must say, that doesn’t really help matters.
“We are being suppressed not because the ruling class sees us as some weak group that may be snuffed out in one fell swoop, but because they know we are strong and they feel threatened. They saw the three million people in the street after Trump was elected and realized what’s going on. People are on the move. Against Kavanaugh, against deportations, against police brutality—working people have been mobilizing. The whole ruling class sees all of this, and they also see what is happening in Argentina, where socialist feminists in Pan y Rosas are regularly organizing hundreds of thousands in mass demonstrations against sexual assault and discrimination, and where there is an open call with broad support to build an independent party of workers to fight against austerity.
“The ruling class knows that there isn’t really anything stopping workers here in the U.S. from following heroic examples of working and oppressed people all over the world. They are terrified. Good! May the administration and the ruling class quake in their boots! We’re a force to be reckoned with, and they’re acting now because they know they’re losing ground.
“Members of the ruling class seek to silence our identities because they know that we are empowered by the recognition and affirmation of these identities. They want to strip us of our power and enforce the binary straitjacket in order to divide, weaken, and more easily oppress us. Without a binary to polarize us, we are unspeakably strong.
“Just 300 years ago, neither sex nor gender were understood anywhere in the world as binaries. There was no ‘scientific’ consensus that people born with certain genitalia or hormones fit the hard and fast categorizations of “male” and “female”, and that no one could have or be both or neither. Nowhere in the world. So where did the binary come from? It came with the whistle of the factory shift clock. It came with the laws and violence that forced peasants into industrial production. The binary came with the slave ships and the genocide of millions of indigenous people and with the force of two world wars.
“Many transphobes hide under the excuse of the preservation of our language. ‘Look gender up in a dictionary,’ they say, or, ‘transgender is a made-up word.’ Well, so are the words ‘male’ and ‘female.’ Our oppressors have fooled themselves into thinking that if we cannot label ourselves, we cannot manifest. That simply isn’t true. The ruling class wants exclusive ownership of labels because they want exclusive ownership of people. The gender binary secures the ruling class’s control over the bodies of those they oppress; we’ve seen it time and time again, for example, with the struggle for access to birth control and safe abortions.
‘Trans people are also being oppressed because we are not profitable. We present a problem to the nuclear family model that so efficiently produces and indoctrinates new workers for the labor force. Purely economically, we are not a good investment for the ruling class; we take advantage of existing resources only for the sake of our own freedom, not for the sake of fulfilling an agenda or playing into a systemic complacency.
‘It is inefficient for the ruling class to exploit us because without strict categorization we are not easily commoditized. Our fundamental connection is the rejection of the established structure, a structure that serves only to benefit the ruling class and oppress all others. It’s a shame that such a large portion of our population has succumbed to the acceptance of such a structure. But we have the power to break this cycle. We won’t be erased!