Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) spoke on the House floor Wednesday evening on Transgender Awareness Week. Her remarks stressed the persistent threats trans people face, the importance of fighting for trans equality, and the need to honor and uplift trans voices.
Congresswoman Jacobs’ remarks came as part of a Special Order program organized by the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.
For video of her speech click here: Youtube, Twitter.
Congresswoman Jacobs’ Remarks as Delivered:
Thank you Congresswoman Newman and thank you to the Equality Caucus for organizing this Special Order.
As mentioned, I am the proud sister of a trans brother and a gender non-conforming sibling.
I am also the proud representative of Hillcrest, the heart of San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community.
So this issue is deeply personal to me, and to the people that I love.
And every time we hear about another trans person being murdered, I think about my siblings and my constituents. And my heart breaks. Because this epidemic of violence has gone on for too long.
For too long, trans voices have been silenced, ignored, and disrespected. Whether they are trying to access healthcare, trying to find housing, or even when they’re just trying to go about their daily lives, our trans neighbors and friends face discrimination, harassment, and a pervasive lack of resources.
Even in this body, we have colleagues actively working to prevent equality for the trans community, who continue to misgender and dehumanize our trans friends and family, who want to continue denying them the support they need, and who are trying to keep them on the margins of our society.
And this rhetoric and this anti-trans legislation making its way through the country has real world consequences. With the recent news of the killing of Marquiisha Lawrence in South Carolina, 2021 just became the deadliest year on record for trans and nonbinary people. This year alone, at least 45 trans people have been killed.
And it is “at least,” because all too often, when trans people are killed, the details of their lives are misreported. They are misgendered or deadnamed in police reports and death certificates. So not only are their lives being taken from them -- their authentic identity, who they really were and fought so hard to be, is also being erased. So we must continue to say the names of people like Poe Black and Natalia Smut, who were killed this year in California.
Their lives are a reminder that we must continue to fight for trans equality, especially for trans women of color.
And, as important as it is for us to celebrate the lives of the trans people who were taken from us, we also need to celebrate trans people when they are still alive.
This Transgender Awareness Week, let us commit to uplifting trans people when they are still here with us, not only after they’re gone.
To the trans community, I honor your strength and resilience. I will continue to make your voices heard in the halls of Congress, and I will continue to advocate for the support that you have been denied for far too long.
And to any young person watching, know this. You are perfect, you are loved, you are needed in this world, exactly the way you are.
And I will be here, fighting for you every single day.
Thank you, I yield back.