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Letter: Pass laws to protect transgender people

Pass laws to protect transgender people

Can you imagine being victimized for something you cannot change? This is the tragic reality transgender people face every day. For some, like Alejandra Leos, expressing gender identity can mean losing your life. Leos, a spirited transgender woman, was murdered just steps from her home. She was not the first to be victimized due to being transgender; unfortunately, she won’t be the last. Eleven transgender people were killed in the first three months of this year.

Although the United States has made great strides in gay and lesbian rights, transgender people still do not have the legal protection, human rights or safety they deeply deserve. There are hundreds of trans people in Western New York. They are our family, our friends and our co-workers. There is no statewide law that prevents transgender discrimination. No protection means leaving valuable people in our lives and community susceptible to violence, loss and tragedy. In school, we expect our children not to bully and to practice tolerance; as adults, we are hypocritical by not protecting transgender people from undue violence and discrimination.

What can you do? Learn about gender identity and the trans community. Talk about discrimination with your loved ones. Practice being an ally. Contact your senator to advocate for equal rights. You have the power to make our community a safer place for transgender people. You can start a conversation that can save lives.

Skylar Amari & Diana Buchhalter