How am I going to be dehumanized today? This is the question in my mind when I wake up each morning, knowing the internet contains some fresh horror passed down from those tasked with protecting the white elite — I mean...society.
The most recent answer to this question came over the weekend.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that the current administration casually announced its desire to redefine, or rather roll back, the definition of gender to the conventional binary assigned at birth. This move would define a million people out of existence in the eyes of government. Transgender identities which were so recently made visible under the Obama Administration could be scrubbed out and redacted, as the administration seeks to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX.
The long-term implications of this are horrific. I’m afraid to write them down. More deaths. Dead names, removal of gender markers on licenses and diminished and eradicated access to services. This move makes it almost impossible for people who identify outside of the binary to qualify for civil rights protections, leaving countless people vulnerable in an openly hostile socio-political environment.
Another gem came to me last week when I learned of a recent Supreme Court decision not to intervene in a challenge to North Dakota’s voting laws, affecting the right to vote of tens of thousands, including a disproportionate number of indigenous people. Under this new voter registration law, only people with IDs that show a physical street address may vote — those with P.O. boxes alone are no longer valid.
This could effectively silence roughly 70,000 people as soon as the coming election. (Further reports have indicated that another 18,000 more are restricted due to voting purges which rule out people due to technicalities as little as a missing hyphen in a name.)
Indigenous people, the most recent to gain the right to vote in 1924, have lost it in 2018. People whose ancestors were birthed on and worked and honored this land are being denied the ability to decide what happens to it. Due to this country’s long history of abhorrent behavior towards its indigenous, many among this population are left homeless, with only a P.O. box.
In Georgia, politicians continue their love affair with denying thousands of Black and brown people the right to vote. From reducing the number of polling stations, to barring a group of about 40 Black seniors from boarding a bus to a polling location in Jefferson County, citing the appearance of partisanship (the bus was financed by the nonpartisan “Black Voters Matter Fund”), to polling purges — or “exact matches“ as Georgia Secretary of State (and gubernatorial hopeful) Brian Kemp calls them. Kemp has been instrumental in stalling over 50,000 voter registrations, of which a high number are Black. Thousands of people are being disenfranchised. None of this is new, it feels incredibly old.
The good news is, we will not be silenced. We will not be erased. People in power are attempting to erase us because we are powerful, trying to silence us because our voices make the earth shake.
Shake with me. Refuse a government which systemically and heartlessly disenfranchises millions. Say no to an administration who would strip away the humanity of people who demand only to be themselves. Deny a society which is comfortable allowing marginalized people to slip into second class citizenship. Refuse the past. Demand a different future. Hold on to humanity and fight for it.