EDITORIAL: Stand up for others so they do it too
Celebrity comments regarding president’s ruling are selfish
President Donald J. Trump and his administration have seemed to give opponents of former President Barack Obama’s administration another thing to cheer about after Wednesday night. The Trump administration revoked protections for transgender students who wish to use bathrooms and facilities that resemble their gender identity. This decision was done despite the announcements by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who said she would protect the rights of transgender students, then had to choose between defying the president and ignoring her instinct, and ended up doing the latter. But others did not stay as quiet.
The Democratic community was in outrage over the Trump administration’s neglect of nondiscrimination laws. But they were not the only ones. High-profile supporters of Trump also voiced their concerns over the Trump administration’s new decision. Caitlyn Jenner, who is one of the profiles or faces of the transgender community, sent a message out to Trump via Twitter, referring to his decision as a “disaster,” and calling on him to remember his promise to “protect the LGBTQ community.” Jackie Evancho, the “America’s Got Talent” runner-up who performed the national anthem at Trump’s inauguration, also reached out to Trump asking him to meet with her. Evancho’s sister came out as transgender in 2015 and so the issue is near and dear to her heart. But there is a troubling issue surrounding this.
The first obvious issue is with the Trump administration’s decision itself. Supporters of his decision claim that by having transgender individuals in bathrooms that correlate with their gender identity rather than their sex, the other people in the bathrooms become at risk to being sexually harassed, which is why there are separations in the first place. However, time and time again, the people who are at risk when transgender people use the bathrooms of their gender identity are the transgender people themselves. They face discrimination, harassment and sexual assault. So Trump’s new ruling regarding transgender people using bathrooms is only fueling the anti-LGBTQ sentiments that lead to assault and discrimination.
As wonderful as it is for Jenner and Evancho to be standing up for LGBTQ rights, there is a sort of selfishness embedded in their choice to speak up now. What about the ban of people traveling to and from the seven Muslim-majority countries, or when Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy? But it’s not just about executive orders that have been coming from Trump. As we are using Evancho and Jenner for argument’s sake, neither of the two ever commented on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. In fact, once when Jenner was asked about BLM, she turned and left. Jenner herself was not even a supporter of gay marriage until after the filming of the first season of her show “I Am Cait.”
For people who understand what it feels like to be a part of a marginalized group, it is almost unfathomable to comprehend why they would not want to stand up for those who are discriminated against as well.
When people, especially those with a celebrity standing that enables them to reach a large audience, only speak out against the issues that involve them, the world becomes a very selfish place. The importance of speaking out for those who are marginalized, especially in different ways than you, is underrated. If people continue to only raise their voices when issues directly affect them, then there will be no one to support them when the spotlight comes to them. With an administration that seems to target different groups with every new legislation, it is important for us to stand as one even for issues that don’t necessarily involve us, not only because it is the morally right thing to do, but also because you never know when it’s going to be you that needs help.
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