Missouri is a state like none other. To be a resident of the ‘Show Me’ state means you are primed to show, not tell. It means you show up when your neighbor needs a hand, and that you turn towards, not away from people in need.
This November, the ACLU of Missouri’s Trans Justice Program is fighting to elevate the reality that 25,000 Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) Missourians are living in a state of need. From employment to housing, healthcare to education - trans and gnc residents of this state face incredible barriers to living safe, full, and open lives in Missouri.
As the statewide Trans Justice Organizer at the ACLU of Missouri, countless stories of discrimination, family and work harassment come my way daily.
This week, my phone rang when a member of the trans community urgently reached out to me - scared and upset - that upon showing their ID to purchase groceries they had the cops called on them for being a ‘suspicious person.’ This month, I learned of another local leader living near Springfield who is battling discrimination after coming out as trans at their workplace. I know folks across this state who have been denied housing, jobs, promotions, and common decency because of who they are. These are glimpses of our lived reality.
When we die, the discrimination doesn’t stop. When our deaths are violent, the impulse of the media is deadname us, sensationalize our gender, and normalize the violence against us. In the most recent murders of members of our community in Kansas City and St. Louis, local advocates scrambled to follow up with families, scrape together pennies for support, and ward off the creation of pernicious narratives that do nothing to better our lives but instead disrespect our existence.
Living discrimination is unacceptable. A life lost is horrific. A legacy trivialized is salt is a gaping wound. We must demand more from our home state.
10 Days of Trans Demands 2019 propels us to fight back. These 10 Demands are here to make it plain for all that we are not just dealing with pronouns or hurt feelings. In reality, our lives are at stake in the moments we are denied healthcare or fired from work due to gender discrimination.
Supporting us means supporting these fights all over the state. We are joined by the members of the ACLU of Missouri’s 2020 Trans Leadership Table, Trans community members and our allies around the state in demanding a Missouri future that has us not just surviving, but thriving.
We demand the following:
- Decriminalize Sex Work & HIV in Missouri
- Expand Medicaid and Transgender Healthcare Protections Statewide
- Provide Statewide and City Employment Protections
- Provide Statewide and City Public Accommodations Protections
- Establish Trans-Affirming Housing Programs &/or Shelters in all cities over 150,000
- Eliminate Conversion Therapy Statewide
- Eliminate Racist and Transphobic Prison Disparities (#PeopleNotPrisons #CloseTheWorkhouse)
- Let Trans Kids Learn: Implement Trans-Affirming Policy and Support GSAs
- Establish Trans-Affirming Faith, Educational & Work Spaces
- Hold Transphobic & Trans-Antagonistic Reporting Accountable
The 10 Days of Trans Demands campaign takes place in the days leading up to Trans Day of Remembrance on Wed., November 20th, and features performances, presentations, vigils, listening sessions, and community conversations in at least four cities across Missouri (Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, St. Louis).
We encourage you to sign our ‘We Demand a Trans Future’ petition so that we can build a movement to turn the 10 Demands into concrete policies and programs in 2020 and beyond. Members of the statewide Trans Leadership Table will be expanding on these demands over the coming months to keep the conversation going. You can find their work on our website and be sure to check back for more as the campaign progresses.
But you can do more than sign our petition. You can engage your community in this fight. We’ve made it incredibly easy to share this information with your friends and family with our ‘Trans Demands Action Guide’.
From memes to graphics to hashtags - (#MOTransDemands!) - this campaign is here to equip you and all Missourians with trans-affirming tools to demand and fight for a more just and safe tomorrow. This is the “Show-Me” state. Show your support, be visible beacons of change in our state.
Dream with us. Demand with us.
-Jay-Marie Hill, Trans Justice Organizer, ACLU-MO