2017: The Best and Worst Year for Transgender People
In some aspects, it seemed like the United States was progressing in its treatment of the LGBTQ community. Though human rights, especially those for transgender people, aren’t the only topics that have been seemingly separating the nation, it has been on the forefront of the national consciousness for much of 2017.
With the October 29th murder of Candace Towns - a trans woman who lived in Macon, Georgia - 2017 became the deadliest year for out trans people in the U.S. She was the 25th transgender person to lose her life to some sort of violence so far this year. With days left in the year, 2017 has already taken over from the 23 murders of trans citizens that occurred during 2016.
However, 2017 saw huge leaps forward for trans people during election cycles. This includes the first openly trans woman to ever win state office, former journalist Danika Roem, winning a seat on Virginia's House of Delegates, while in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Andrea Jenkins became the first trans woman of color to serve in office.
All over the country, on both the state and federal levels, laws pertaining to transgender rights are being fought over. When Donald Trump took office as President in early 2017, he wasted no time in rolling back rights for trans citizens. He reversed the Obama administration's rules regarding public restrooms and also reinstated the ban on trans people joining the military. The latter of which was later shot down by the Supreme Court.
Popular talk show host and comedian John Oliver stated on his show that rights for transgender citizens is the next big civil rights movement in this country. As with women, black people, and gays, there will undoubtedly be a long road towards equality in the eyes of the law for trans people. We hope 2018 will bring positive change to the lives of transgender people.