Trans people are under siege. We need to act. Now.

From the Washington Post article “6 key takeaways from the Post-KFF survey of transgender Americans”, published March of this year:

Since January, state legislators have introduced more than 200 bills that seek to limit transgender rights, whether it is access to gender-affirming care, what children can learn about transgender identity in schools or whether trans girls can play sports.

Transgender individuals face a multitude of challenges that can threaten their safety and well-being. Discrimination, harassment, and violence against trans people are widespread and have deadly consequences. It is imperative that we protect our trans community and create an inclusive society where they can thrive without fear of harm or prejudice.

It is a sad fact of modern society that trans individuals face significant discrimination and marginalization. They often face barriers when it comes to employment, healthcare, and education, and many experience housing discrimination as well. This can lead to a range of negative outcomes, including poverty, social isolation, and mental health issues. By protecting trans people, we can help ensure that they have equal access to opportunities and resources, and that they are not unfairly excluded from society.

Another important reason why we need to protect our trans community is that they are at a heightened risk of violence and harassment. Trans individuals are more likely to experience hate crimes, sexual assault, and domestic violence than their cisgender counterparts. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project has reported that 4,000 transgender people have been killed globally since 2008. This is a shocking statistic that highlights the urgent need for action to protect trans people.

Moreover, transgender individuals also face unique challenges when it comes to accessing healthcare. Many healthcare providers lack knowledge and training on transgender health, and this can lead to inadequate or inappropriate care. This can have serious consequences for trans individuals, who may face barriers to accessing the healthcare they need, or who may receive substandard care that puts their health at risk. Even if the level of care were adequate, many states in the U.S. and countries around the world are pursuing anti-trans legislation that prohibit transgender people from receiving healthcare they need. In the United States, the ACLU is tracking more than 450 anti-LGBTQ bills, over 100 of which relate to healthcare, many targeting trans people.

Perhaps most shocking and shameful is that it is trans youth who are often most negatively affected. According to the Trevor Project, more than half of trans youth have seriously considered suicide and more than a third of transgender youth report experiencing homelessness (PDF)

All this paints a stark and dispiriting picture: we are failing some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and in many places, we are actively working to exacerbate the harms and challenges they face. This should be unacceptable to all of us.

There are many ways to support trans people. You can:

Educate yourself about transgender issues.

The more you know about transgender issues, the more you can understand and support trans people. Here are some good places to start:

Speak out against discrimination and violence against trans people.

If you see someone being discriminated against or harassed, speak up. Let them know that you support them.

Support trans-inclusive businesses and organizations.

When you are shopping or donating to organizations, look for businesses and organizations that support trans people.

Be a good ally.

An ally is someone who supports trans people and stands up for their rights. You can be an ally by being supportive and understanding, and by speaking out against discrimination.

I am so grateful that many transgender people have chosen to work at PartnerHero, and I get to connect with them and share space. I am grateful that several associates have spoken up, and shared their personal experiences with me. Upon hearing their stories, it would be inhumane to stay quiet. The time to act is now. I am calling on all business leaders to consider the following actions:

  1. Engage and listen to your transgender employees. Give them the safety and space to share what they are experiencing, and what they need from you.
  2. Support political action and candidates who are 100% committed to protecting trans rights, and doing everything they can to overcome the campaigns of hate and violence against them.
  3. Consider relocation benefits and services, to employees wanting to move to less hostile states and countries that would have that option. 

It is crucial that we take action to address the discrimination, violence, and marginalization that trans people face on a daily basis. This includes promoting awareness and understanding of transgender issues, ensuring that trans people have equal access to opportunities and resources, and implementing policies and programs that support their well-being. By working together, we can create a world where everyone, regardless of their gender identity, is able to live with dignity, respect, and safety.

Here are some of the things PartnerHero is doing to stand up for trans rights and take action:

  • We enacted a Trans Community Relocation to a Safe State Assistance program in the US - up to $5,000 - to help transgender employees move to locations that are safer for them to live in if they so choose.
  • While PartnerHero already offers trans-inclusive benefits, we are partnering with our carriers to ensure they are trans-friendly, advocating for the system to be easier to navigate.
  • We joined the Human Rights Campaign’s Mobile Action Network to receive ongoing alerts about news and legislative actions.
  • We submitted a letter to United States Senators and Representatives on behalf of PartnerHero in support of the Trans Justice Initiative.
  • We made a $1,000 donation to HRC in support of LGBTQ+ rights.
  • We joined HRC's "Count Me In" movement for transgender and non-binary people who are under attack from anti-LGBTQ+ extremists.

If you’re asking yourself, “But why should I care? This doesn’t directly affect me or anyone I know personally.” I urge you to consider the lessons of history and approach this with the urgency it deserves. 

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Lutheran pastor in Germany. In the 1920s and early 1930s, he sympathized with many Nazi ideas and supported radically right-wing political movements. But after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Niemöller became an outspoken critic of Hitler’s interference in the Protestant Church. He spent the last eight years of Nazi rule, from 1937 to 1945, in Nazi prisons and concentration camps.

He wrote:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Those who spread hate are rarely content to stop at just one group. For those of us who have power, agency, and a voice, I believe it is our duty to act with compassion and urgency and use that power to speak out while we still can.

I will leave you with one more quote, from the poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox:

To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.

What else can we do? We want to hear from you about other ways in which we can show up and be better allies to our trans colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors.

Join us, as we move beyond talk and niceties, and take action.