This June 26, we call all youth and students to join the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee in celebration of the 11th annual Trans Day of Action. This is a day to celebrate the struggle of all transgender and gender non-conforming comrades against the genocidal rule of the white supremacist heteropatriarchal U.S. state. We renovate our commitment to smash all institutions that uphold and reproduce heteronormativity and our commitment to ensure that all trans and gender nonconforming people have access to jobs, healthcare, housing, as well as ensuring they live safe from being targets of heteropatriarchal violence at the hands of the police and people in their communities.
On this day we also remember all those who died due to their defiance of hetero-patriarchal society. It is a day to honor the friends, family and comrades that are lost to anti-transgender violence and the erasure of their experience from not only mainstream media, but also the mainstream bourgeois gay rights movement, and in many instances, the Left.
There is a dominant narrative within society that perpetuates violence onto the bodies of transgender people, especially those of oppressed nationalities. To be trans is going against society’s preconceived notions of gender and the societal norms that go along with those gender identities. In order to reproduce itself, capitalism relies on the patriarchal nuclear family as a unit of reproduction of its labor force. Trans people, through their very existence, challenge heteronormative notions on gender, and challenge the patriarchal notion of the family promoted through the capitalist ideological state apparatuses and enforced through violence.
In 2014 we mourned the tragic deaths of 10 transgender people of color across the U.S., nine of whom were transgender women of color: Kandy Hall, Zoraida Reyes, Yaz’min Shancez, Tiff Edwards, Mia Henderson, an unidentified trans person, Alejandra Leos, Aniya Parker, Tajshon Sherman, and Gizzy Fowler. Their deaths did not make national news; it did not draw out crowds of protesters taking the streets in honor of their lives. It is evident there is something lacking in the revolutionary and progressive movement when we fail on multiple occasions to bring respect and light to the plight of people other than Black men.
The Black Lives Matter Movement has been rightfully criticized for being patriarchal and cisheterosexist, despite the original proponents of the movement being queer women. However, this deliberate erasure of transgender people from history is not new. When one thinks of the Stonewall Riots the picture that comes to mind is white gay men and lesbians, but in fact it was started and led by many transgender people.
Transgender people of color are often heavily discriminated against and deeply misunderstood. While bourgeois media solely focuses on issues pertaining to middle class gays and lesbians such as marriage equality, working class transgender people still face oppression at the hands of the state in the form homelessness, police harassment, and discrimination at the hands of medical and other social service institutions.
The recent visibility of white bourgeois transgender people like Caitlyn Jenner are deemed as progress, but the truth is that U.S. state keeps repressing transgender people through its prisons and police. Approximately 300,000 gay and transgender youth are arrested and detained each year, of which more than 60 percent are Black and Latino. Though gay and transgender youth represent just 5 percent to 7 percent of the nation’s overall youth population, they comprise 13 percent to 15 percent of those in juvenile prisons. At the same time, most of the jobs in the service economy lockout transgender people, which leads many of them having to turn to sex work, which is highly criminalized.
True liberation for transgender people will only come with the end of capitalist society and the smashing of the capitalist state that enforces heteropatriarchal ideas of gender. We must demand gender studies department that teach the history of transgender struggles to be implemented into the curriculum of all institutions. In the streets, we must create self-defense units to protect transgender and gender non-conforming members of our communities from violence at the hands of the state, and other reactionary forces.
Smash the heteropatriarchal, white supremacist, capitalist state!
No revolution without trans liberation!
Fist up, fight back!