Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss on the Presidential Election: Resilience

This is the first Veterans’ Day on which transgender service members serve openly, recognized by our government for their authentic selves and honored in the open, rather than in the shadows.  We thank all transgender military personnel for their service to our country and our community. You have built -- along with our allies who serve at your side -- upon the strong foundation that countless veterans forged over decades of advocacy and vigilance, showing us as a nation that change, in even the most conservative of institutions, is possible if we keep speaking out.


This Veterans’ Day is also bittersweet, falling just days after our united progressive communities were dealt a serious blow. We at TLDEF understand that many in the trans community fear a Trump Administration, believing that the many advances ushered in, by and through the Obama Administration could evaporate overnight. During this time of deep unease, let us hold one another close and acknowledge the concerns we are all experiencing, and help one another to get the support we need.


Though we go forward on what will likely be a difficult path, we need not lose hope, and we need not reconcile ourselves to second class citizenship. Transgender people have survived and thrived through the most hostile of political administrations. We are a battle-tested and resilient group. Be assured, our rights movement cannot be silenced by the stroke of a pen, even if that pen is held by President-elect Trump. Indeed, the many forms of protection put in place by the Obama Administration and the federal courts cannot all be undone overnight.  State and city law protections, like court orders recognizing our names and genders and myriad nondiscrimination laws, where available, are not at risk. TLDEF and our sister organizations stand at the ready to protect each and every advancement we won over the last eight years, and we are determined to continue to push, charting new paths forward.


TLDEF will continue to stand strong on behalf of all those we serve. We will redouble our organizing efforts and reaffirm our commitment to transgender equality. We will never waver as we carry out our mission to ensure that all transgender people are treated equitably under the law, and with dignity and respect in our daily lives.


Going forward, we must be united within the trans community and we must also continue to forge alliances with other progressive communities that will also face obstacles over the next four years. TLDEF stands in solidarity with all progressive communities, recognizing that the dignity and humanity of our fellow human beings is not something which is up for debate.


As our community and other progressive communities come to terms with our new reality, be assured that there will be many resources marshaled in our communities to help you. TLDEF will continue to fight in federal and state courts across the country to ensure that the most vulnerable among the trans community are afforded expert legal representation at the highest levels. We will continue to file friend-of-the-court briefs, including a brief in the United States Supreme Court in early January 2017, advocating for Gavin Grimm’s right to use the boys restroom at his high school in Virginia. TLDEF’s name change project will continue to operate, pairing trans people across the nation with lawyers at leading law firms to ensure barriers to recognition of our authentic selves are minimized. TLDEF is also working to create concrete action steps to provide our community with the resources and expert guidance needed so you can advocate for yourself, your families, and your communities over the next few years. Please keep an eye out in the coming weeks for this guidance. In the meantime, for those of you desiring peace of mind about your federal identity documents such as passports and social security records, here is information from a sister organization that you can use to begin the amendment process.


We are a resilient group. We have been through a lot over a long period of time, and yet, through community, love and faith, we have created room for ourselves and our loved ones to flourish. We well know that nothing is guaranteed in life. We have always found ways, through community, to create a voice for ourselves. And through community, we will support and help each other to survive, and thrive, and have our voices heard.