A series of attacks on cis/trans women and non-binary people, during this year’s Women’s History Month, have laid bare how prevalent and deadly misogyny and cisheteropatriarchy remain, particularly for those who are marginalized due to racism, transphobia, xenophobia, and whorephobia—those who are most often left out of the “girlboss” and “lean in” culture of many Women’s History Month celebrations. On this Trans Day of Visibility, the Center for Constitutional Rights reaffirms a commitment to a broad-based vision of gender self-determination and names the principles that guide how we approach dismantling cisheteropatriarchy.
We vocalize our solidarity with people in the sex trades and people punished for their survival from violence
This moment calls on us to vocalize our solidarity with people in the sex trades as they continue to call for the decriminalization of sex work, as well as people who survive violence and then face criminalization for it. The criminalization of work in the sex trades is part of a larger, centuries-long project by the state to target and criminalize Black and trans communities. We also recognize how the pattern of criminalization leads to further violence against cis/trans women and non-binary and transmasculine people, who are so often subjected to state-sanctioned forms of violence such as intimate partner violence, punished for their very survival, and then experience further violence from the criminal legal, immigration, and prison systems—including Gabby Solano, an immigrant survivor of domestic violence who is currently threatened with deportation.
We partner with Black and brown cis/trans women and LGBTQIA+ communities to disrupt the discrimination-to-incarceration pipeline
Criminalization and denial of access through the discrimination-to-incarceration pipeline targets cis/trans women and girls, as well as transmasculine, intersex, and non-binary people. Members of these communities are frequently denied employment and educational opportunities, as well as housing and healthcare, forcing them into poverty, homelessness, and criminalized economies. The discrimination-to-incarceration pipeline particularly oppresses Black trans women like our client Ashley Diamond, who has experienced many-layered forms of violence before and during her incarceration in men’s prisons in Georgia. We also continue to remember and honor the life of Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, an Afro-Latina trans woman who died in solitary confinement in jail at Rikers Island after staff failed to provide her adequate medical care. Layleen was in jail on a charge related to work in the sex trades for which she could not afford bail. Today we recommit to the long, unfinished history of organizing against patriarchal violence and center our work on those who remain most vulnerable and marginalized today.
We historicize the harm of patriarchal violence and commit to ending it
This month called on us to face the fact that rigorous, principled struggle against cisheteropatriarchy is not just a theoretical practice: work in solidarity with marginalized communities is necessary to secure true safety for all. The horrific attacks in the Atlanta area made visible the anti-Asian violence that has been prevalent since the pandemic began and long before. These incidents of violence are not isolated, but rather part of a centuries-long history of xenophobic racism, criminalization, and the brutal economic exploitation of Asian and AAPI communities, particularly Asian women, that in the U.S. extends back to the first presence of Asian communities and has been perpetuated in legalized anti-Asian sentiment.
We protect the rights and ability of trans youth to lead full and healthy lives
Also this month, a wave of regressive legislation targeting trans youth has endeavored to deny them critical healthcare and access to communal activities like sports. While the media focus has spotlighted Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, and South Dakota, over 90 bills have been proposed in at least 28 states since January 2021 alone. The bills—put forward during a pandemic when legislators have done little to provide necessary support and care for their constituents suffering from job losses, rising rates of violent attacks, and lack of access to necessary healthcare—are a clearly coordinated attempt to scapegoat and dehumanize trans people under the guise of “protecting” them and supporting cis girls. This comes in the context of the killing of two trans women during Women’s History Month, a tragic pattern of the murder of trans people that reached its highest ever recorded rate in 2020.
We honor the women who have fought to build a world where gender-oppressed people can thrive
It is necessary for us to follow the leadership of those on the margins who have been dismissed but are typically in the vanguard of revolutionary feminisms, including Black people, Indigenous people, other people of color, migrants, domestic workers, LGBTQIA+ folks, disabled people, and people in the sex trades. We also honor women like Fannie Lou Hamer, Loretta Ross, Grace Lee Boggs, Miss Major, Ella Baker, Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Yuri Kochiyama, and Ceyenne Doroshow: leaders who have fought to build a world where marginalized people of all genders can thrive.
An expansive, cross-cutting gender justice lens acknowledges and supports the leadership of marginalized communities towards liberation for us all
In being expansive in who we understand is targeted by patriarchal violence, we support taking a racial, economic, and disability justice lens to gender oppression. We continue to honor movements challenging misogyny, whorephobia, transphobia, sexual violence, poverty, prisons, militarism, borders, and ableism—movements that in their most radical formations are so often led, historically and currently, by cis/trans women and non-binary and transmasculine people of color. As that legacy of leadership continues in this generation’s most vital movements for justice, we can’t afford to be impeded by the regressive structures attempting to dehumanize our people and undermine this powerful work. We call on all who work for justice to join us this Trans Day of Visibility in taking a broad approach to struggles against cisheteropatriarchy in order to ensure that trans people—and through their leadership, all people—can live their fullest lives.