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Trans solidarity at London Pride 2019
Photography Asafe Ghalib

More than 450 feminist leaders voice solidarity with transgender women

An open letter released by GLAAD includes signatures from Gloria Steinem, Anna Wintour, Laverne Cox, Munroe Bergdorf, Lena Dunham, Janelle Monáe, and more

More than 465 feminist leaders — working in the spheres of entertainment, politics, advocacy, business, media, politics, and social justice — have signed a new open letter published by GLAAD, in solidarity with transgender women. Arriving on Trans Day of Visibility (March 31), the GLAAD letter recognises that “trans women and girls have been an integral part of the fight for gender liberation”. “We uphold that truth,” it reads, “and denounce the ongoing anti-transgender rhetoric and efforts we witness in various industries.”

“We acknowledge with clarity and strength that transgender women are women and that transgender girls are girls. And we believe that honoring the diversity of women’s experiences is a strength, not a detriment to the feminist cause.”

“All of us deserve the same access, freedoms, and opportunities. We deserve equal access to education, employment, healthcare, housing, recreation, and public accommodations. And we must respect each person’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination.”

In recent years, the UK government has rolled back vital trans rights, while the coronavirus pandemic has seen trans people further cut off from crucial healthcare services. “UK trans healthcare is in a terrible condition right now,” one trans woman, Jane, told Dazed in March.

Supporters of the new open letter include fashion names such as Anna Wintour, Bella Hadid, and Cara Delevigne, alongside Gloria Steinem, Lena Dunham, Munroe Bergdorf, Laverne Cox, Beanie Feldstein, Constance Wu, Cynthia Erivo, Jenny Slate, Lena Waithe, Megan Rapinoe, BLM founder Patrisse Cullors, Janelle Monáe, Sarah Paulson, Selena Gomez, and many more.

Leaders of several organisations and movements, such as #MeToo, Planned Parenthood, Movement for Black Lives, and of course GLAAD, have also pledged their solidarity.

“It is time for the long history of assaults (legislative, physical, social, and verbal) against trans women and girls to end,” the letter goes on. It also references the recent renewal of bigoted legislation, aided by “self-identified feminists, who have been promoting damaging and violent ideas about trans people for years” (AKA TERFs).

“True feminists do not wish to limit any woman’s identity or freedom to fully be herself,” GLAAD says. “Allowing transphobic rhetoric to go unchecked also strengthens the legislative efforts of anti-trans politicians — who now cloak their bigotry in language about protecting or supporting women.”

Read the full open letter, and browse the list of signatories, here.