31 March 2021
Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility, a tradition begun over a decade ago to highlight the oppression and contributions of trans people. Visibility can be especially difficult for trans men and nonbinary people, for whom being erased and belittled is a common experience, and for trans women often rendered highly visible, but through the distortions and hateful stereotypes of a transphobic culture that wrongly casts them as dangerous. All trans people, in one way or another, face having their humanity rendered cruelly invisible.
It is easy to focus too exclusively on the hardships faced by trans people: on the increasing hate crimes, medical barriers, workplace discrimination, and mental health challenges. In the US right now, the Republican Party is waging a callous war against trans people to create scapegoats in its hateful far-right project. It is important to recognise and help overcome such injustices. Trans people cannot do so alone; they require cis people (whose gender identity matches that assigned to them at birth) to call out and challenge the prejudices that give rise to this oppression. Trans people are not responsible for transphobia, and so they cannot end it by themselves.
But trans people are more than these hardships, and a recognition of their humanity means seeing their agency and strength too. Trans people are not passive victims; they are also among those who make and remake the world daily, as members of the exploited class too. As revolutionary socialists, we at Anti*Capitalist Resistance go beyond the weak liberal notion of toleration outlined by John Locke in his famous letter. Trans people should not only be visible, not only tolerated but celebrated and welcomed.
As socialists, we celebrate trans people as contributors to our revolutionary tradition. Those such as Leslie Feinberg, whose final words were, ‘Hasten the revolution! Remember me as a revolutionary communist.’ The unique tradition of socialism cannot accept exclusion or hate as a limit to humanism, because socialism perceives how bigotry and prejudice divide us to the benefit of those who exploit our labour, planet, and future. We recognise and welcome the diverse humanity of all of our siblings; to do so is foundational to a politics of liberation.