SURJ Bay Area knows fighting for trans and queer liberation is intrinsically linked to the Movement for Black Lives and the dismantling of white supremacy. It is important to center those who experience intersecting identities which make them particularly vulnerable to various forms of violence and oppression. Trans people of color are disproportionately affected by sexual assault, police violence and murder. When we say we stand for Black lives, that means we also stand for the many trans and queer people who face state violence due to their identities.
With the election of Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress, the ability for trans people to obtain identification that fits their gender expression, such as passports, will likely become difficult, expensive or straight up impossible. When trans people don’t have access to identification that matches their gender expression they are at risk: mentally, emotionally and physically.
Kendra Albert, a Bay Area resident, is organizing a project that matches individual trans people who need passports or other gender conforming documentation with financial donors. Getting a passport is currently the easiest way to get a government ID that matches your name and gender marker. Under the Obama administration's policy, you can get a passport with an updated gender marker by submitting a letter from your doctor. If you are updating your name, you also need an order for name change, which can cost hundreds of dollars. Passport policy is under the president's control, so this could shift very soon. That's why Kendra is mobilizing to help as many people as possible file applications before January.
We encourage folks with the financial means to sponsor a passport, which is a very direct way to have a tangible impact on a person's life. The cost of getting a new passport is over $125. The project is especially in need of donors capable of giving in the $300-500 range, although anything over $100 is incredibly useful and would be much appreciated. If what you can give is under $100, there's a related donation pool at YouCaring.
If you are in a position to give, please email Kendra Serra ASAP to start the donation process. They have already matched over 150 people with funding. If you are trans and you are worried about affording gender conforming documentation, please email Kendra to be matched.
The time is NOW to support trans people who need these resources before the passport policy is changed. This is one way to demonstrate solidarity. For other ways to get involved, please contact SURJ Bay Area’s Queer and Trans Committee.
This past week individuals and organizations around the country participated in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and address the issues these communities face. November 20th marks the third Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.