March 29, 2019
Ben & Jerry’s has always believed that everyone should be free to be whoever they are and love whoever they love. Every single person deserves full and equal civil rights.
For supporters of LGBTQ rights, there has been a lot to celebrate over the past five years—we’ll never forget the day marriage equality became the law of the land! But much work remains to be done. Since President Trump took office, the transgender community, in particular, has faced increased discrimination.
That’s why on March 31, the International Transgender Day of Visibility, we’re teaming up with our friends at National Center of Transgender Equality (NCTE) to rally support for the Equality Act, guaranteeing protection for all transgender Americans.
The Power of Being Seen
The International Trans Day of Visibility was started back in 2009 to celebrate transgender people in all walks of life, all over the world. Trans people are our friends, our relatives, our coworkers. They’re athletes, leaders, teachers, and politicians—and this is a day to shine a spotlight on their courage and accomplishments.
2018 saw some remarkable victories for the trans community:
- Christine Hallquist didn’t win her race for Vermont governor, but she made history nonetheless, becoming the first-ever openly transgender major-party gubernatorial candidate in the US.
- Pose, an FX series starring five trans women of color, made history: it’s the first-ever TV series with a mostly trans cast.
- Massachusetts voted to uphold a state law that forbids discrimination against the transgender community in public places. It was the first statewide vote on trans protections in US history.
- New Hampshire and Colorado voters elected transgender candidates to office for the first time, joining a record-setting “rainbow wave” of LGBTQ victories around the country.
- Nicole Maines broke new ground with her role on Supergirl, becoming TV’s first trans superhero.
We Need the Equality Act
At the same time, the International Trans Day of Visibility is meant to raise awareness about the discrimination that trans people still face.
- President Trump issued, and a federal appeals court let stand, a ban on transgender people serving in the military. The Pentagon recently indicated that it would begin to implement the ban next month, despite the ongoing court challenges. (NCTE is working on legislation in both the House and the Senate that would overturn the ban.)
- Gay and transgender people are being abused in ICE detention centers along the US-Mexico border.
- In 2017, Trump rolled back Obama-era rules regarding the right of transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.
- More broadly, trans people encounter discrimination where they live, where they work, at school, and in public every single day.
The list goes on. And on. Which makes it more critical than ever to pass the Equality Act. The Equality Act will provide anti-discrimination protections in key areas of everyday life, such as housing, education, employment, federally funded programs, and public spaces.
National Center of Transgender Equality, which was founded in 2003 and has been leading the struggle against trans discrimination ever since, has been working hard to build congressional support for the Equality Act and get it passed.
According to NCTE, only 21 states have legal protections specifically for transgender people. The Equality Act would amend existing federal civil rights legislation (like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, to name a few) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity throughout the US.
Join the Movement
On this International Transgender Day of Visibility, stand with us and NCTE and call on your representatives to pass the Equality Act. To keep the pressure on, NCTE will also be holding a rally in Washington, DC, on April 10.
NCTE delivered a trans flag to every single US congressional office and asked them to display those flags as a sign of support. But we need your support, too.
We believe that every person should be able to live a life free from fear and discrimination. Contact your representatives and let them know why transgender equality matters to you.
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