Violence against transgender individuals continue to occur even as strong support systems rise.
Several states and local laws have protections set in place to prevent discrimination against gender and sexual orientation but there is a lack of protection from the federal level.
The first amendment does a really good job of protecting anti-trans discourse and hate speech under the guise of free speech.
However, free speech should not equal hate speech.
Violence doesn’t have to be physical for it to cause damage. The spread of harmful, discriminatory language and ideologies is still harmful and possibly even faster to spread in this societal climate.
The main instigator for violence against transgender individuals stems from anti-trans stigma which is worsened through lack of family acceptance, hostile political climates and cultural marginalization.
According to The Human Rights Campaign, around three out of four transgender individuals experience their families make negative remarks surrounding them and over half have been mocked by their family.
Experiencing a lack of acceptance from the people closest to you is devastating and disheartening. Some people end up having no one close to them to rely on.
The only way to combat this violence is to create a society that accepts all genders and expressions, however, anti-trans activist continue to invalidate the transgender experience through insensitive questions and languages.
Matt Walsh, a conservative anti-trans activist, was invited to UH for a screening of his documentary “What Is a Woman?” which had over 400 attendees.
His ideology harms transgender individuals and only enforces gender as a biological concept rather than characteristics built off of social constructs.
With a university that preaches diversity and supporting the LGBTQ+ community, having Walsh speak on campus creates a conflict of interest and integrity.
Although Walsh was able to speak under the protection of the first amendment, his ideologies only continue to harm transgender individuals and the LGBTQ+ community as it only spreads hate and violence towards people who only want to live true to themselves.
As people continue to spread anti-trans stigma and misinformation, transgender individuals will struggle to lead lives free of harm and discrimination.
As the number of transgender individuals killed continue to rise each year, there should be more done to limit harmful ideologies as they are the start to violence against transgender people.
Realistically, it would be impossible to eliminate discrimination entirely, but hatred could be lessened by eliminating platforms held by anti-trans activists like Matt Walsh.
Instead, those platforms should be held by transgender individuals who want to create an inclusive environment of all genders, sexualities and self-expression.
Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a sophomore journalism major who can be reached at [email protected]