Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Trans and Nonbinary Activists Discuss Trans Rights in a Gaston Hall First


A panel of trans and nonbinary activists, writers and legislators urged community members and Americans to stand with trans people in an event in Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall, the first ever event in Gaston to feature only trans and nonbinary panelists.

“Allyship is not synonymous with family or relationships, allyship is synonymous with action. And uncomfortable action. Our lives are uncomfortable all day, every day,” State Representative Mauree Turner (D-Okla.), a member of the panel, said at the Sept. 26 event.

The panel discussed the state of trans rights in the United States and the importance of the continued fight for equity and protection for trans Americans.

The panel included State Representatives Zooey Zephyr (D-Mont.) and Turner, journalist Erin Reed and activist and writer Charlotte Clymer (S ’16). Amanda Phillips, an associate professor of English, film and media studies, women’s and gender studies and American studies at Georgetown, moderated the discussion.

The Georgetown University College Democrats (GUCD) arranged the panel, which was sponsored by the Georgetown University Queer People of Color, Georgetown University Pride, the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, the Georgetown University Lecture Fund and the LGBTQ Resource Center.

State legislators have introduced over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills thus far in 2023, including more than 220 targeting trans and nonbinary people, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Of those bills, 70 have become law, including 15 bills banning gender-affirming care for minors.

Reed, an independent journalist who writes about anti-trans legislation, said these bills often start with coordinated pushes from conservative advocacy groups to ban trans and nonbinary people from participating in sports teams aligned with their gender.

“If they could get you to accept the asterisk on our identity in sports, they can more easily sell you on all of the other ways in which we’ve seen in the last few years,” Reed said at the event. “The 15 states that passed the sports bills in 2021, we now see those same states are the ones that passed the gender-affirming care bans. You could not quench that fire.” 

Evie Steele / The Hoya | A panel of trans and nonbinary activists, writers and legislators urged community members and Americans to stand with trans people in a Sept. 26 event.

Zephyr and Turner have faced censure from their Republican-led state legislatures for supporting trans rights: Turner, the first nonbinary state legislator in American history, for allowing a protester against anti-trans laws to use their office, and Zephyr for speaking out against a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for minors.

Zephyr said her censure represented a denial of democracy.

“When you silence a legislator, you take away representation from the constituents. So that fight became a larger fight about democracy,” Zephyr said at the event. “It’s not so much the policies that they are trying to bring forward. You have to look at what they are willing to throw away to achieve those policies.” 

Turner said trans advocates and allies must be constantly willing to adapt their tactics to keep hold of their rights, especially in Republican-dominated states like Oklahoma.

“I think the thing about the erosion of democracy in some deeply red states is that when we grow bigger, their fear or their hatred grows bigger too, right?” Turner said at the event. “So we always have to be growing and changing with our communities and our tactics to be able to push back.”

Turner said the fight for trans rights is intertwined with improving trans and nonbinary people’s lives through affordable housing and healthcare advocacy.

“Policy in the past has already created this wealth gap, this accessibility gap, housing, education and so many other things. Those are affecting communities right now,” Turner said. “Books talk about the gay agenda, the queer agenda, the trans agenda: it’s affordable health care, it’s housing and so many other things.”

Twenty-seven states still permit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, education and credit, and no federal laws protect LGBTQ+ people from these types of discrimination.

Turner said cisgender allies need to go further and break out of their comfort zone to truly support trans and nonbinary people.

“Sometimes I get so worried about when people call themselves allies,” Turner said. “Allyship for some folks lets them say, ‘Oh!’ and ‘We’re friends!” and that’s it. But if you’re my ally, you’re actively working to make sure that I feel the same I feel with you anyplace else in the world.”

“Progress and being progressive means that you have to keep moving,” Turner added.

Clymer encouraged the trans community to continue their fight for justice.

“We’re gonna get through this. It’s going to take some time, or we’re going to have to have some patience, or we need to stick together and continue to fight the fight, and that’s what’s key,” Clymer said at the event. “We do not leave people behind.”

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About the Contributor
Evie Steele
Evie Steele, Executive Editor
Evie Steele is a sophomore in the SFS from New York, N.Y., studying international politics with minors in international development and Chinese. She has been on TV twice and has been quoted in Deadline once. [email protected]
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