Mazzoni Center Staff Responds to Trump Administration’s Attack on Transgender, Intersex and Gender Nonconforming Individuals

This memo has made a tremendous impact on Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community, including Mazzoni Center staff. Below are statements from staff members on this issue:

Nefertari Sloan, Mazzoni Center Senior Health and Sexuality Educator

Trans people deserve the right to be seen, felt, heard and experienced, regardless of any government’s definition. To continue to ignore the contributions of trans minds and bodies is a direct disservice to improving the very portions of this country in the most desperate need of restoration.

Oliver de Luz, Mazzoni Center Events and Volunteer Coordinator

I am numb to national news about hating trans people. I am past feeling overwhelmingly angry and hurt. I’m numb to the fact no matter how happy I am or how hard I try to be happy, people want to pretend I’m something I am not for their comfort. Trans people have existed since the dawn of humanity, but people are so threatened by our existence and visibility, especially under our current administration.

My body is non-binary. My gender is non-binary. Anyone who is attracted to me is queer, whether folks able to understand that or not.  We are real. We are here.

How do you support, protect, uplift, and validate the trans people in your life and in your communities?

Morgan Haven-Tietze, Mazzoni Center Care Coordinator

This discriminatory policy is a perfect example of the limitations of law. The legal system can be used to inflict great injustice, and deeply moral acts of civil disobedience can be criminalized. LGBTQI rights are human rights, and we must not let these legal manipulations distract us from our values. These marginalized communities deserve more than the absolute legal minimum.

Trans and non-binary people will not be erased. We are not going anywhere. We will vote against those who would silence us. We will elect progressive candidates who will reform the justice system and apply the law equitably across categories of gender, race, and class. We will care for ourselves, and for each other. Our existence is a miracle. Our survival is a revolution.  

Kai Dorothy Mondloch, Mazzoni Center Medical Case Manager

Transgender people are humans deserving of recognition, social support, and medical care as much as all people, a truth understood and supported by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the World Medical Association, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health among many others, and the scientific basis of this support has been expressed by these organizations on numerous occasions including the American Medical Association’s Resolution 122 that an "established body of medical research" shows both the medical effectiveness and necessity [in some cases] of "mental health care, hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery" in treating gender dysphoria.

This effort to attack the humanity of transgender people contradicts the scientific understanding that providing gender-affirming healthcare and social support is medically necessary, and is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to use culture war attacks against vulnerable and marginalized people to distract from the erosion of democratic principles and the failure to work for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable among us.  This is a blatant attempt to prioritize the hateful and unsupported beliefs of a small number of vocal critics over the humanity of a marginalized group of people.

Transgender and non-binary people’s identities are an objective truth and will not be erased by an administration that seeks to further repress and oppress people who are still being denied cultural and social acceptance and often even medical treatment in a society that fails to respect our existence.  We will not be silenced by an administration and their supporters who would prefer to pretend that people they do not understand are not inherently worthy of respect and dignity.  This view is false, transgender and non-binary people are deserving of the same respect and dignity due to all humans, and the religious, political, and personal views that justify this attempt to erase our identities is merely an attempt legislate with hate and further entrench systemic discrimination and oppression.  This will not be accepted and no matter how long it takes, this effort will be defeated.

It is plain that this administration’s strategy is to exclude transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary people, and intersex from federal anti-discrimination laws and rules. That draft definition would be legally, medically, and scientifically wrong. It is an aggressive, extreme, and nasty effort. It will be fought back against–hard–by the entire LGBTQ and allied community. Mazzoni Center is here to participate in that fight and to support trans, gender non-conforming, non-binary folks against this and other assaults.

From its first days, the current federal administration has tried to erase transgender and non-binary people from federal law. It goes without saying – or at least it should – that trans, GNC, and non-binary folks exist, no matter what this administration claims. Rules like the proposed definition have been defeated before, and will again. Our sibling organizations and Mazzoni Center will be there to make sure of it.

When the definition and the rest of the proposed rule is published, there will be a comment period for formal responses. But we aren’t waiting to tell this administration that if it comes for members of our community, they will have a fight – and we will win.

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