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Trans Liberation is a Matter of Feminist Justice and Human Rights

Sylvia Rivera, a woman in a yellow dress opens her arms. Title says: Trans Liberation, feminist justice and human rights.

The  International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) marks one of the most important dates for LGBTQ communities globally. IDAHOBIT is observed annually on May 17th commemorating the historical decision of the World Health Organization (WHO) to depathologize homosexuality in 1990. In the light of the global increase  of transphobic attacks by anti-gender, gender-critical, and/or so-called trans-exclusionary radical feminists groups, it is essential that we show solidarity with one of the most marginalized groups among the LGBTQ communities – trans and gender diverse people.

In recent years, anti-gender groups have been alarmingly fruitful in co-opting human rights and, in many cases, women’s rights, including /gender equality language and arguments to re-pathologize trans and gender diverse people, oppose trans and gender diverse equality, and reverse hard-won gains in trans and gender diverse human rights. Despite the historical role played by trans and gender diverse communities in pioneering LGBTQ liberation fights on the frontlines, the wider LGBQ community, and other social justice and human rights movements have not sufficiently succeeded trans and gender diverse people in responding and preventing the increase in transphobic bigotry. 

As a result of being subsumed within more dominant agendas, trans and gender diverse people, particularly trans women of color, are still facing widespread stigmatization and exclusion from social welfare and support, education, healthcare, and political decision-making. Consequently, this leads to disproportionately high rates of violence, police brutality, criminalization, incarceration, poverty, health issues, and homelessness globally.

It is essential to overcome transphobia among emancipatory movements. We constantly need to remind ourselves that the critical spirit of human rights is that it cannot be selectively attributed only to certain people. Intersectionality, the analytical tool that has become the cornerstone for setting our liberationist agendas, requires us to critically interrogate our strategies, and approach emancipation from the margins to the center because justice rarely trickles down, but it can trickle up.

GATE calls upon LGBTQ, feminist, anti-racist, children’s rights, women, sex work, social justice, and other emancipatory movements and institutions to call out transphobia where it exists and use their positions of power, and reach to ensure that the most marginalized voices are centered and amplified. Demand justice for ALL : from transforming education, security, healthcare, and political systems, to ensuring democratic and equitable sharing of power, wealth, and respect.

We honor each and every trans and gender diverse individual. Your existence and lives are an act of courage, defiance, and activism!