The summer hiatus for Pennsylvania’s House and Senate has come to an end. The General Assembly, the second-largest in the nation with 50 Senate members and 203 House of Representative members, is now in session.
This week, we’ve already seen an end to the Boyertown case concerning trans-inclusive school district policies, and three bills advanced by a City Council committee that, if passed, would provide protections for LGBTQ-plus folks, specifically the trans and nonbinary communities.
During a year when 19 trans people have been murdered — 18 of them women of color, including Philadelphia’s own Tameka “Michelle” Washington (yes, we will keep saying her name) — it is absolutely necessary for our councilmembers to propose legislation that would protect the trans community.
Under a Trump administration that filed an amicus brief in defense of a funeral home that fired a trans woman because of her gender, we must rely on our city and state representatives for progressive LGBTQ-centered legislation.
During the new political session, PGN looks forward to tracking legislation related to our community and watching as elected officials show their commitment to LGBTQ people.
While legislation surrounding gender has been proposed over the last couple of years, we need our government to investigate and understand the most challenging intersections when devising a plan forward for this city and state.
Black trans women deal with significantly more challenges in this society than other members of the LGBTQ community, from being passed over for employment to economic challenges to high rates of survival sex work. These women are Black and transgender, sometimes also queer or gay, and therefore subject to racism, sexism, transphobia and homophobia. Systemic oppression, rooted in a deeply patriarchal society, exist for each of these identities — when these identities intersect, these systems of oppression are compounded.
These women are underserved by politicians and disproportionately underrepresented in Pennsylvania’s and Philadelphia’s legislative bodies. It is easier to propose legislation relevant to all members of the LGBTQ community instead of that relevant specifically to trans women of color.
While we can be grateful and appreciative of any bill or proposal that directly supports any or all of the LGBTQ community, we can also push our Assembly members to do more, move forward, break barriers. Philadelphia is known for progressive policies and leading the way. This city is often looked to as a test market for progressive and radical ideas because Philadelphia’s constituents are informed, aware and passionate. Let’s expect those we elect to live up to that reputation this session.