Opinion

A dangerous step backward for transgender Americans

The rainbow flag is carried at the end of the 2017 Charlotte Pride Parade in uptown Charlotte.
The rainbow flag is carried at the end of the 2017 Charlotte Pride Parade in uptown Charlotte. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

The Trump administration wants to strip the basic rights of my daughter and millions of other LGBTQ Americans. I am the proud parent of two daughters, one of whom is transgender. This proposed change is ugly, intentional, and un-American.

The administration seeks to amend crucial legal definitions to intentionally preclude the transgender community from the basic protections and civil rights all other U.S. citizens enjoy. It would effectively strip them of federal and state anti-discrimination protections, would directly affect their livelihoods, and would create very real personal safety concerns. Additionally, having lived through the effects of HB2, my family is also very familiar with how such legal changes can incite and embolden others to persecute their fellow citizens at school, in public and at work. It communicates that it is acceptable to treat others as “less than,” simply for being themselves.

This issue is very personal for my family for obvious reasons, but it should be personal for you as well. The question is whether it is acceptable to exclude any citizen from their basic constitutional right to be treated equally. We are talking about your friends, your relatives, your co-workers, and citizens in your community.

I am not a “social warrior” or a “liberal with an agenda” or part of any “left-wing mob.” I am a mother, a Charlottean, a North Carolinian, and an American. Just like you.

Whether or not you have relatives or friends in the transgender community, we can all agree on one of the basic tenets of our country. As an American I believe, fundamentally, that all U.S. citizens are entitled to equal rights and protections.

The administration’s change flies directly in the face of what it means to be an American by intentionally seeking to exempt millions of our fellow citizens of those very rights. It really is that simple. Equal rights for all U.S. citizens is not too high a bar to set for our country, even in this divided era. Please join me in voting on November 6 if you agree.

The safety and livelihood of many of your fellow Americans depends on it.

Nurkin is chapter president of PFLAG Charlotte.
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