Transgender Americans are terrified of Trump

Those who have seen me reporting for the paper may have noticed over the last four months that I am a transgender woman. I did not explicitly advertise this fact, given that my gender does not matter when I’m working on an assignment. The stories I write, after all, are not about me. However, with the election of Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence, it is now imperative to announce who I am to you. It matters to so many transgender people who will be further marginalized once again. Come next year, I am expecting the worst, as every inch of progress we have made for LGBT equality will be scaled back or nullified by the incoming administration and Congress.

As I monitored the election, I watched the New York Times’ election prediction meter turn further and further to the right. What started out as an 83 percent chance of a Clinton win stood at 51 percent in favor of Trump at 7:30 p.m. PST. By 9 p.m., he had tipped beyond a 95 percent chance of winning. It was then that I started seeing numbers for suicide hotlines shared on my Twitter feed. I did not hesitate to share them.

I spent election night consoling other trans women. We were terrified. I talked one person out of taking their own life.

I too was also on the precipice at about midnight.

The next morning, we shifted our focus to processing passports, driver’s licenses and other paperwork to change gender markers. We realized that accessibility to these documents that reflect our correct gender may become very difficult to obtain come January.

I tell you this because I need your help and support. As the media starts reasoning “it won’t be that bad,” my takeaway is that we have been left for dead. The United States has voted to support a candidate who does not care about our survival, and that’s somehow “OK.” This leaves us feeling terrified and alone.

So please stand up for me and my community. I ask you to consider my life and others; to fight every inch the incoming administration wants to advance on its own unjust policies. I want to maintain the protections Obama put in place  over the last eight or so years.

Please do not throw me under the bus. Please do not normalize this hatred. Please do not accept that this rhetoric is popular.

Tomo Hirai is a Nichi Bei Weekly staff writer. She is a queer Shin-Nisei lesbian trans woman. The views expressed in the preceding commentary are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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