On MSNBC, Chase Strangio warns of MAGA “all out assault on trans life”

Strangio: “If you cast individuals as an ideological force and cast that ideology as criminal, it empowers the government to punish that group of people”

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Citation From the June 16, 2024, edition of MSNBC's Ayman

AYMAN MOHYELDIN (HOST): With me now, Chase Strangio, ACLU Deputy Director for Transgender Justice. He is also a staff attorney. Chase, it's great to have you with us. Not to discount this win, it is certainly an important win, but as that judge was saying there — basically saying the motivation behind the Florida ban is anti-transgender animus — how does this win, if at all, help reinvigorate the nationwide fight for equality? 

CHASE STRANGIO (ACLU DEP. DIR.): I mean, we're happy to celebrate the win, it is a critically important win, but as you know, we are facing an uphill battle in the legislatures, in the courts, and at the executive level in states across the country. It is an all-out assault on trans life. So what we're seeing is a map of this country where, in 2020, there were zero states that banned gender-affirming medical care for minors. There's now 24 states. 

MOHYELDIN: You and I were talking a little bit about this in the commercial break before, and that is about what a second Trump term looks like, might look like, certainly when it comes to LGBTQ issues. We've been focusing on that throughout the course of these past two hours. Two things could happen if Donald Trump is re-elected: one, Medicare and Medicaid funding could be terminated for hospitals that provide gender-affirming care to trans youth, and there could be an attempt to charge teachers with sex discrimination for affirming students' gender identities. How do you even begin to prepare for the challenges that may lie ahead for the LGBTQ community if Trump wins a second term? 

STRANGIO: I think we have to be raising every single alarm. It is truly those things that we could anticipate, ways in which we would see our legal rights rollback, in which we would not have the robust federal enforcement of federal civil rights statutes, that would all happen. But we would also see — and I think we could look to Project 2025 for this — trans life being deemed criminal. We are seeing rhetoric escalating now in the states where trans people, myself for example, have been called groomers just for advocating for our communities. And what that means is if you cast individuals as an ideological force then cast that ideology as criminal, it empowers the government to punish that group of people. And I think not only will we see those types of erosions of our rights, but we will see a wholesale assault on our ability to move freely in the world. 

MOHYELDIN: Let me ask you about something you recently wrote, you wrote in an op-ed. You talk about your own personal journey as a transgender man. You write, quote, it might be harder to credit the ongoing attacks if we were the ones allowed to tell the story of our lives and bodies. Just expand on what you mean by that. How can we boost the voices of trans Americans in this country right now? 

STRANGIO: I mean, I think we have to be open to listening, because at the core of so many of these bills is the belief and the fear that turning into a trans adult is a bad outcome for someone, that we don't want trans kids to turn into trans adults because trans adults don't live full and happy lives and I believe in every fiber of my being that my life is a refutation of that and we want to hear from trans people speaking for ourselves.