From the front lines: The war on American trans and non-binary people

OPINION It’s fair to say that it’s been a rough few weeks for the LGBTQ community in the US. We have been under fire since the 2016 Election, and it is now clear that an all out war has been declared, with the top casualties being trans and non-binary youth and trans women of colour.

Prior to November 2016 things were moving forward, albeit slowly, for transgender folk. Visibility of gender diversity was increasing, and federal, state and local governments were adding protections that covered many aspects of public life. Transphobia in especially the media was still very much a thing of course but, as the queer parent of a transgender child, I felt cautiously optimistic that I might one day see a society that wholeheartedly affirms and accepts transgender youth.

The first attack came weeks after the Trump Inauguration with the announcement that Title IX Guidelines were to be rescinded immediately in our public schools. These guidelines, issued in May 2016 by the Obama Adminstration, had basically provided a blueprint for how schools should affirm their transgender and non-binary students. Without these guidelines vulnerable students were left at the mercy of school administrators. Within days we heard stories of youth being forced to use the wrong bathrooms, and being misgendered/ dead named by their educators without consequence, in many cases without any (affordable) legal recourse for families.

“This year alone, at least 21 trans women have been murdered (overwhelmingly trans women of colour), and it’s very likely that number is much higher as victims of violent crime are often misgendered in death.”

For a period of time so called “ bathroom bills” became a weapon in the arsenal of Conservative politicians here. Fortunately all failed or were withdrawn, and the last few years have seen a decrease in these types of attacks. Every time Bills like these are debated, irreparable harm is done, in particular to vulnerable trans youth. They are forced to listen to politicians and media pundits describe them as “predators” and their humanity is up for public debate. Trans women are especially demonized and it’s no surprise that reported hate crimes against transgender and non-binary communities are on the rise. This year alone, at least 21 trans women have been murdered (overwhelmingly trans women of colour), and it’s very likely that number is much higher as victims of violent crime are often misgendered in death.

It’s impossible to detail the complete barrage of attacks on the transgender and non-binary community by our federal government in one 1000 word essay- so a comprehensive list from the National Center for Transgender Equality can be found here. This list doesn’t include state and local efforts to exclude trans folk from public life, nor does it mention the many anti-LGBTQ judges appointed at lightening speed to our courts. Some of these judges (with lifetime appointments!) have called trans youth ‘delusional”, and are now tasked with issuing rulings that could have life changing impacts on the youth they demonized.

Already battle fatigued, hundreds of us stood outside the Supreme Court in DC on October 8th, as the nine Justices heard oral arguments in 3 cases regarding anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination. One of the cases, Harris vs EEOC & Aimee Stephens- a woman who was fired two weeks after telling her boss she is transgender – is the first transgender rights case to be heard before the Supreme Court. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality more than one in four transgender people have lost a job due to bias, and more than 75 % have experienced some form of workplace discrimination. If the Supreme Court rules that it is legal to fire somebody because they are transgender, these figures will only increase.

A few days later news broke of a custody battle in Texas. A jury had initially appointed full custody of a 7 year old transgender girl to her supportive mother, and the outcry was immediate. Within hours politicians were calling for investigations and the mother was declared a child abuser. A media frenzy followed, and politicians in three states announced Bills to prevent transgender children from undergoing any form of medical transition, including blockers, before the age of 18. It’s likely that these Bills, based on ignorance and misinformation, will pop up in more states, and will become the “bathroom bills” of the 2020 legislative session

This Friday the administration announced a plan to legalize widespread anti-trans discrimination in federal programs grant funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. This includes foster care and adoption, youth homelessness prevention, and health care. This new rule will further push at-risk trans youth into the margins.

“I have no doubts that we will win this war, but if we lose the election next year things will likely get worse before they get better.

The consequences for this continued war on trans youth are severe. Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that transgender youth are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight, cisgender peers. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that rates of suicide and self harm are on the increase, and online parent groups share stories of more frequent bullying and anti-trans hate speech in schools. We know of trans youth already denied access to affirming health care, with sometimes life threatening consequences. Online attacks against transgender folk have been particularly ugly lately, especially after Always announced it would remove the Venus symbol from it’s sanitary products.

Although this war is making us weary, there are many reasons for hope. Youth are rejecting the gender binary and are more openly identifying as queer and trans. There is increasing support for transgender rights, and more than 60% of Americans are saying they are now more supportive than 5 years ago. Youth led campaigns are winning school board policies and nationwide voter registration efforts are resulting in record numbers of youth able to vote next year.

I have no doubts that we will win this war, but if we lose the election next year things will likely get worse before they get better. Make sure you support the trans and non-binary folk in the trenches by donating to trans led organizations here and in Iceland. Reach out to offer support to the trans/ non-binary people you know and never stay silent when you witness transphobia online or in person. Lives are depending on it.”

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



    Blush was founded in 2011 when it started selling high quality sex products. The goal from the beginning was to change the market and take the discussion about sex products to a higher level. Today Blush provides professional services in a pleasant environment that fulfills different needs, both for individuals and couples. Blush respects diversity and wants to set a good example in all of its messaging to target audiences. Sexual health and equality in sex is important and Blush wants to focus on those issues through education and open discussion. Blush works in a socially responsible manner for society, their customers and the environment.

    Check out Blush’s website:

    Omnom Chocolate
    - award-winning chocolate maker

      Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

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      In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

      At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.




        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

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        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater
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        - leading financial institution

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

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        Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        - get inspired

        Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

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        VSÓ Ráðgjöf


          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

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          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

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          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

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