Letter From the Co-Chairs
If you’re not infuriated, you’re probably just not paying attention. That’s an awful way to begin a Pride message, but as we head into a month of celebration of who we are and of being out and visible, we are targets of anti-trans legislation and backlash. Not since the riots we celebrate, the refusals to knuckle under to oppression, the then-revolutionary idea that equality extends to us, have we been more under attack.
Anti-equality forces in state legislatures, controlled by extremists of the right wing, have unleashed a torrent of legislation that will roll back the hard won advances we have achieved, the rights we now enjoy. They position their bigotry as “protecting children” and “anti-grooming” or, in some areas, imposing what they label as Christian morality. They paint our communities as predators laying in wait at public restrooms or inherently dangerous to children, never citing any cases or proof.
The fact is that transgender individuals have never in the history of this country been responsible for these kinds of attacks. Indeed, those who have been loudest in their attacks on our community have themselves repeatedly been the ones convicted of abusing children and trying to cover up sexual misconduct. Nonetheless their attacks on our community are unabated, and it’s here that I believe we need to focus our anger and our attention. This Pride Season we need to and WILL push back, just as trans women of color did at the Compton Cafeteria and the Stonewall Inn, all those years ago. They’re the ones who fought back and showed pride. They’re the ones in whose light we shine.
At NTBA, our mentoring and support programs for trans and gender nonconforming young attorneys are expanding. Our networking to expand awareness of the threats facing us is a major focus of the upcoming Transgender Law Institute at Lavender Law. This November we’re bringing a dozen trans and gender nonconforming attorneys to the United States Supreme Court to have them sworn in to the Bar of the Supreme Court. The ceremony will be before the full Supreme Court Bench, Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh among them.
We can’t stop and we won’t stop. And with your help we will achieve a new level of visibility as we strive for full equality, not just for trans lawyers, but for all who stand with us, out and proud.
Co-Chair, National Trans Bar Association