The three things you can do right now to advance transgender rights.

I am often asked by my members and friends, ‘what can I do right now to stop the spread of hate that is so pervasive in American politics today?’. While it’s great to march or protest, the fact remains many of us don’t wish to out ourselves in that way.

Yet, we also want to do what we can to support trans rights, and simply prevent the relentless onslaught on gender issues that seems to be a part of life in America today. My response is usually the same.  Vote.

However, there’s only the opportunity to vote every couple of years and for some people it can seem a pointless exercise, particularly if you live in a state that is overwhelmingly controlled by the Republican party. Today I have a simple recipe for people wanting to make a difference. Here are three simple things that you can do that will help. In suggesting these initiatives I would remind my friends that this is a long game. It took a long time to win the freedoms we have achieved so far, and it may take a long time to protect them.

  1. Make sure you are registered to vote.

This is important. You don’t want to find out two weeks from an election that you’re not eligible to vote. It may sound a little passive, but this is important. It pays to know you can vote, to keep an eye on local politics as well as national politics, and to lend your weight to those advancing trans rights and women’s rights. When an election comes round be sure to offer a ride to others who will be voting in the same direction as you, or at the very least be sure you are going to be able to get to a polling station, preferably with a friend. One of our greatest enemies is voter apathy. That’s how the Defendant in Chief got into the Whitehouse. We don’t need that to happen again.

2. Research who is proactively advancing trans rights in your local area.

See who is standing for school boards, for legal appointments and even on the strata council. Choose to support people with common values to you. This can take a little time and effort, but when you hear of an election, take the time to do the research. Check profiles. If necessary, contact your local transgender support groups and track down contacts that can give you pointers. Most such groups have no problem answering questions without you needing to give identifying information. If all else fails reach out to me at and I will attempt to put you in touch with groups that can give you solid advice. If you don’t have any politicians in your locality who are advancing trans rights consider making a small donation to political movers and shakers like Zooey Zephyr in Montana. She’s advancing trans rights there, and if we can make progress there other people will come forward. Remember, this is a long game.

3. Friends don’t let friends date assholes.

When talking with friends it’s ok to remind others that values matter. When trans rights are under threat at a societal level then the defence has to be at the same level. By making it clear to your social group that you don’t want to associate with people who hold radical views around issues like right wing politics and Christian nationalism you help marginalise the opinions of bigots. The fact is, we get what we put up with. So, don’t put up with bigots. Don’t feel bad about blocking people on your phone or on social media if they hold views that are unacceptable to you. Often getting into confrontations doesn’t do much but marginalise you, so take a more covert approach. Just quietly exclude people who are members of groups that go against your core values. You’ll find your life gets much better when you remove this toxicity.

Most of all do what you can to connect with groups that promote trans rights. Find them online and make yourself aware of the issues they’re focusing on.  You don’t have to be a front line activist to support these groups. You don’t even have to be very obvious, if you have concerns around being outed. However, being informed is important. After all, it’s your rights, and the rights of the next generation, that are under threat.

Fiona Dobson

Leave a Reply