A Transgender Flag Flies On Capitol Hill
LGBT Rights organizations and Congressional equality leaders like Joseph Kennedy III, say it marks a commitment in congress to fight anti-trans initiatives in the government.
On January 3, Virginia congresswoman Jennifer Wexton placed a transgender pride flag outside of her new office in Washington DC. The placement of the flag stands out as a bold image of allyship with a community of Americans who have seen multiple attacks on their rights from the Trump administration.
In a statement made to Broadly, the Human Rights Campaign elaborated on the impact the Trump administration's policies have had on the rights and lives of transgender Americans: “From the military to schools to hospitals, the Trump-Pence White House is working overtime in an attempt to erase trans people from the public square," the organization explained. Wexton's act, HRC explained, appears as a symbol of change and also an example of how the personal is political, mentioning that Wexton is herself the aunt of a transgender child. "The trans flag proudly on display in the Halls of Congress is a sign to our community that we will not be erased." With the convening of the most diverse Congress ever, some in the LGBT community see hope for change with a widening of representation.
In the fall of 2015, a congressional Transgender Equality Task Force was formed to address anti-transgender violence and issues related to the transgender community. The task force is helmed by Representative Joseph Kennedy III, who held a conference to double-down on the task force's initiatives in the weeks preceding the Democratic takeover of the House of Representative. In a statement made today, Kennedy said that “transgender Americans deserve a government that lives up to its sacred promise of equal justice and civil rights," adding that the new Democratic majority "will fight for trans soldiers, trans students, and every single trans American who has been targeted by the Trump Administration’s bigoted policies."
The flag has also resonated with the leading organization for transgender rights, the National Center for transgender Equality, based in Washington DC. The NCTE lauded Wexton for her act. "Representative Wexton has set a clear model of love and acceptance by supporting transgender people not just in the halls of Congress, but in her own family," said Mara Keisling, the Executive Director of NCTE. Keisling went on to explain how the flag, as simple as it may seem, can work to provoke political action. "By displaying the transgender pride flag at her office, Rep. Wexton is clearly signaling that the equality of all people should be an indispensable value for legislators and families across the country," Keisling said.