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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 25, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 48
John Kerry reaffirms US support for Trans rights
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John Kerry reaffirms US support for Trans rights

by Mike Andrew SGN Staff Writer In what may be the last official recognition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance for a while, US Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement affirming US support for Trans rights:

'On Transgender Day of Remembrance, the United States solemnly honors the memory of the many transgender individuals who lost their lives to senseless acts of violence,' Kerry wrote on November 20.

'Transgender persons around the world are targeted by rising levels of violence fueled by hatred and bigotry. This is a global challenge and we all must do more to protect transgender persons on the basis of equality and dignity.

'In the United States, our Constitution enshrines freedoms of peaceful assembly, speech, and association, and it affirms that everyone has equal protection under the law. Around the world, human rights and fundamental freedoms are recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every person is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Every person includes transgender women, transgender men, and other individuals who face marginalization on account of their gender expression or gender identity.

'Today we stand in solidarity with the incredible resilience and leadership of the transgender community in responding to stigma and marginalization. Transgender persons deepen our diversity, broaden our communities, and strengthen the values we cherish. When all persons reach their full human potential, free from fear, intimidation, and violence, nations become more just, secure, and prosperous.

'The United States remains committed to advance the human rights of all persons, including transgender persons. On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we reaffirm equality for all as part of our core constitutional principles and as a human rights priority of US diplomacy.'

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a Transgender woman, to memorialize the murder of another Trans woman, Rita Hester, in Allston, Mass. The date has been commemorated by the Obama administration since 2009.

The 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act was the first federal legislation to explicitly protect Trans people. The Obama administration followed up with administrative guidelines extending federal prohibitions against sex discrimination to protect gender identity as well.

Trump has stated his opposition to federal protections for Trans people and has surrounded himself with enemies of the Trans community - notably his VP, Mike Pence. He has also promised to rescind 'all' of President Obama's executive orders, including those protecting Trans rights.

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