This Week in Women: Standing up For Trans Rights
While Kellyanne Conway is taking a break from the TV circuit after her alternative facts escapade, the Trump administration has been busy unraveling Obama’s legacy and upending normalcy for many Americans. Needless to say, it was another week filled with headlines and subsequent protests. And the chaos didn’t stop there: we also saw Kesha publishing body-shaming emails from Dr. Luke, a long manifesto from Trevor Noah about the power of vaginas in a Netflix special, and, to top it off, Princess Nokia reportedly punched out a rude heckler at a charity performance at Cambridge University. It’s time for This Week in Women!
The Anti-Trans Bathroom Bills & Title IX
This week, the Education Department alongside President Trump took steps to reverse President Obama’s position that transgender students should be allowed to use the school bathroom of their chosen gender identity. Obama’s original directive, Trump’s team said, was improperly devised “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”
On Friday, the Supreme Court announced they would hear the case of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender teen who is not allowed to use the boys bathroom in his school in Gloucester, Virginia. His legal team argues that this directly goes against Title IX’s protection against sex discrimination.
“What people should know about these bathroom bills that criminalize trans people…is that these bills are not about bathrooms; they’re about whether trans people have the right to exist in public space,” said actress and transgender activist Laverne Cox on CBS This Morning. “If we can’t access public bathrooms, we can’t go to school, we can’t work, we can’t go to healthcare facilities—this is about public accommodations and public accommodations are always the key to civil rights.”
Caitlyn Jenner posted a video to her Twitter account, addressing students, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Trump. “I have a message for the trans kids of America: You are winning. It may not feel like it today or every day, but you’re winning. Very soon we will win full freedom nationwide. Now I have a message for the bullies: You’re sick…because you’re weak and pick on kids or pick on women or anyone else you think is vulnerable. […] Finally, I have a message for President Trump from, well, one Republican to another. This is a disaster. And you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me.”
A Powerful Statement From The Women of Standing Rock
Journalist Shaun King posted a video (peep it below) featuring some of the indigenous women of Standing Rock speaking out after being ordered to evacuate by February 22.
My friends in Standing Rock just sent this to me & asked me to share it. They are surrounded by militarized police RIGHT NOW. pic.twitter.com/plR0Tfaagc
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) February 21, 2017
“In the history of colonization, they’ve always given us two options: Give up our land or go to jail. Give up our rights or go to jail,” said one of the women in the video. “And now, give up our water or go to jail. We are not criminals.”
“Warm temperatures have accelerated snowmelt in the area of the Oceti Sakowin protest camp, and the National Weather Service reports that the Cannonball River should be on the watch for rising water levels and an increased risk of ice jams later this week,” said a statement from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum’s office. “Due to these conditions, the governor’s emergency order addresses safety concerns to human life as anyone in the floodplain is at risk for possible injury or death.”
As part of a symbolic leaving ceremony before the government’s evacuation deadline, protestors set fire to some wooden housing structures at their camp.
“They’ve been trying to take us down for hundreds of years,” said another woman in King’s video. “They can keep trying, and we’re still going to be here, and we need help. There aren’t many of us left.”
Lead graphic by Jordan Levinson
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.