Trump’s Attack on Trans Students has International Impact

In the past 48 hours, the world was reminded in three gruesome incidents that transgender people are subjected to violence and discrimination every day.

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Wednesday, the Trump Administration revoked the Obama Administration’s guidance policy allowing trans students to use bathrooms congruent with their gender identity; on Tuesday, a trans woman named Keke Collier was murdered in Chicago; and today, Shameera Krishnan was shot and killed in Malaysia. Persecution and discrimination against the transgender community remains high globally, with few countries having legislative protections for trans citizens.

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President Trump’s administration Wednesday reversed a federal guidance which allowed transgender students in public schools to use bathrooms which correspond to their gender identity. The guidance enacted during the Obama administration required that schools receiving federal funding allow trans students to use facilities that are congruent with their gender identity. President Trump’s reversal now puts this decision at the hands of state legislators. At least seven states are currently considering bills that would restrict transgender people from using bathrooms which match their gender identity, following in the footsteps of North Carolina’s House Bill 2. In March the U.S Supreme Court will hear the first-ever case regarding this issue, a case put forth by 17-year old trans student Gavin Grimm who has been denied from using the boys bathroom in his school.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International remarked on Trump’s policy reversal, stating,

“Bathroom access is a basic human right. With this directive, the Trump Administration is encouraging trans students to drop out of school and directing them to unemployment which leads to poor healthcare and homelessness. Unless President Trump intends to revoke citizenship for transgender youth across the country, this amounts to a failure of his alleged campaign promise of ‘America First’. The only policy that will make the US stronger is one that puts human rights first, including for transgender students.“

Also in the U.S, 24 year old Keke Collier, also known as Tiara Richmond, was ruthlessly shot in Chicago on Tuesday, making her the fourth known transgender woman to be shot and killed in 2017. The United States has enacted a federal hate crime law criminalising violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, however violence against the transgender community is prominent. In 2016 at least 21 transgender people were murdered in the United States, most were transgender women of colour.

Across the globe, Shameera Krishnan, aged 27, was brutally attacked, shot, and died in the Jalan Pasar area of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday morning. Discrimination and persecution against the transgender community is commonplace in Malaysia, where a religiously conservative society and application of Islamic moral policing infringe on the rights of trans people. Malaysia criminalises homosexuality and cross-dressing. Last week the Malaysian State Religious Affairs Department released a video suggesting that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people can be trained to change their sexual orientation and gender identity to fit with heterosexual and cisgender standards.

Commenting on this week’s events, Stern said,

“What happens in the United States makes news around the world, and so this decision will have negative impact beyond U.S borders, FUELLING hostility and persecution of trans and gender non-conforming people everywhere.”

 

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