In the first three months of 2021, trans rights have come under unprecedented attack in the United States. Between January 12 and March 9, 2021, 28 states introduced a record-breaking 82 anti-trans bills. About half of these bills would prevent trans athletes from participating in sports designated for the gender with which they identify, while another 30 propose to prohibit and/or criminalize gender-affirming medical care for minors.
Much of the rhetoric surrounding these bills is explicitly transmisogynist, framing trans girls’ genders as inauthentic and dangerous. This state-supported transmisogyny is especially ominous in light of the ongoing epidemic of murder and violence against trans women in general, and Black trans women in particular. The same period that saw the introduction of these anti-trans bills, recorded a 266 percent increase in trans murders from the previous year. Two-thirds of the trans people murdered in 2021 have been Black trans women.
The University of California, Santa Barbara’s Departments of Black Studies and Feminist Studies stand in opposition to the anti-trans legislation introduced this year as well as the transmisogynist rhetoric that underlies it. We stand in solidarity with trans individuals and communities fighting for rights to self-identification and medical care.
We recognize that trans women including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, and CeCe McDonald have been central to the Black, Latinx, Feminist, LGBTQ, Trans, and Anti-Policing liberation movements. We acknowledge that gender diversity and self-identification are integral to justice for all people. Black people will never be free while Black trans women, men, and children live without rights or safety, and we commit to prioritizing their well-being at UCSB and beyond.
Thanks to Professor Omise'eke Tinsley for producing this trenchant statement on behalf of Black Studies and Feminist Studies, as it stands as testimony to our collective activist stance.