Thus far, I’ve refrained from posting about a monthly charitable endeavor my household has embarked upon, largely because — a few exceptions notwithstanding and some pretty clear viewpoints creeping into my pop culture commentary from time to time — I’ve opted to make this a politics-free zone.
For this month, though, I’m going to cross-post something that went up on the Tumblr page I started shortly after the 2016 presidential election. Everything else is explained below, in what was written and shared earlier today.
On the 9th of every month, the anniversary of the morning after the 2016 election, we will donate to an organization engaged in the hard work of standing against and undoing the damage of the presidency a minority of voters put into place. In tribute to Hillary Clinton’s greater share of the popular vote, we will donate $48.20 to the organization in question and invite others to join us in doing the same. The original post that explains it all is here.
Above: Kansas high school students protesting a typically onerous bathroom bill forcing transgendered to students to use facilities that match up with their sex at birth, in April, 2016. The bill went nowhere, but legislators are trying again.
The court date was set: March 28, 2017. That’s when the Supreme Court of the United States was supposed to hear arguments in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board.
Brought by teenager Gavin Grimm, the lawsuit was prompted by his Virginia high school’s separate-but-equal solution when Gavin sought to use the boys’ bathrooms, in accordance with his gender identity, which he has already transitioned to, both medically and legally. The school instead assigned him to a single-stall bathroom in an act of ostracizing compromise.
While the outcome of the case before the Court was hardly certain, at least the discussion would be brought to the highest stage in U.S. jurisprudence. There was even the heartening gesture of a SCOTUS clerk admonishing filers of amicus briefs in the case for their callous, willful misuse of gender pronouns in referring to Grimm. No matter how small, progress is progress.
Then, less than a month before the Grimm’s lawyers were to climb the steps to the Supreme Court Building, the case was vacated, eliminating lower rulings in favor of Grimm and effectively put the legal battle back at the beginning. In the words of The New York Times, the Court “sent the case back for further consideration in light of the new guidance from the administration.”
Under the heavily coded guise of respecting states’ rights, the current administration eliminated guidance put in place by President Barack Obama’s White House that afforded transgendered students protections under Title IX regulations, including the right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identities. Revoking this gesture of acceptance was evidently so crucial that it needed to happen within the first month or so of the new presidency, despite campaign trail commentary that implied very different viewpoints on the issue.
The specificity of this bigotry shows that, as much value as there is in the unification of the GLBTQA+ community, there are times when it makes sense to break one letter free and concentrate on the unique issues being faced by one subset of the broader group’s population. With that in mind, we sought an organization with a dedication to protecting the rights of transgender individuals, ideally students like Gavin Grimm.
And that led us to Trans Student Educational Resources, or TSER.
According to their website, TSER has the following mission: “Trans Student Educational Resources is a youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment. In addition to our focus on creating a more trans-friendly education system, our mission is to educate the public and teach trans activists how to be effective organizers. We believe that justice for trans and gender nonconforming youth is contingent on an intersectional framework of activism. Ending oppression is a long-term process that can only be achieved through collaborative action.”
The materials and support TSER puts forth is truly impressive, including a set of admirably clear, direct, and useful infographics. That includes “The Gender Unicorn,” which has been particularly mania-inducing to those who want to make certain transgender students continue to face belittlement and bullying. As a general rule, if it’s making Franklin Graham apoplectic, it’s probably a good thing. More importantly, if it can create more widespread acceptance, understanding, and support for transgendered students, it can save lives.
That’s why we’re giving TSER our February 2017 donation of $48.20.
If you have the means, we humbly ask that you join us in doing so. DONATIONS CAN BE MADE AT THE TSER WEBSITE.