Yesterday, January 26, 2020, Pride Center of Vermont became aware of an anti-trans group that is organizing in Vermont. The group, Gender Critical Vermont, has a scheduled meeting at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington on the evening of Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Many members of our community have reached out over the last 24 hours to express their anger, fear, pain, and resistance in response to this group convening in our community. To transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community members: we stand with you. We affirm that all transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people are valid, beautiful, and resilient. We will continue to honor and love you all.
Fletcher Free Library allowing this group to use their space is incongruent with their mission to support and affirm all library users. The library’s complicity in allowing active prejudice and hate to exist in their space sends a clear message to the trans community that it is no longer a safe environment for them. We implore the leadership of the Fletcher Free Library and the City of Burlington to reverse their decision to allow this group to meet at the library.
This group of local anti-trans organizers have begun using the term “gender critical” to describe themselves while targeting the “transgender agenda.” The use of “gender critical” is an intentional move to make anti-trans rhetoric more approachable and acceptable in the public sphere. It has been and continues to be used as a way to erase transgender identities. It is rhetoric like this that facilitates violence against trans and gender non-conforming people. Violence against trans people makes up a third of the reports to our SafeSpace Anti-Violence Program. This targeted form of violence towards the trans community is not new, but must end. Pride Center of Vermont is against this hate. This is an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community and our allies to come together in solidarity. We invite all of you to join us in resisting the hate directed at members of our community.
Here is a list of things you can do in response to anti-trans rhetoric:
- Tell a trans person that you love them.
- Donate to or buy from trans people, especially trans people of color, and support organizations that advocate for and with trans communities.
- Allies of trans and gender non-conforming community members can show up in solidarity to our trans siblings and help us show that Vermonters do not stand for hate.
- Join local community members have that been actively organizing demonstrations in response to the meeting. For more information on how to get involved, please email Gustavo@pridecentervt.org.
- Pride Center of Vermont is in the process of starting a group for trans allies to disrupt anti-trans rhetoric and heal division that fractures our communities. If you are interested in being involved, please email Mike@pridecentervt.org.
We are here to support and uplift our communities. We are available for any trans and gender non-conforming Vermonters who need it. You are more than welcome to come into the Center for support, or call our SafeSpace Anti-Violence warmline at 802-863-0003. The Pride Center of Vermont is offering up our space for folks who would like to organize and create spaces of healing during this time.
Pride Center of Vermont celebrates, advocates, educates for and with LGBTQ+ Vermonters. We are committed to educating our communities to prevent the spread of harmful misinformation.
Photo: Pride Vermont Parade 2019 by Owen Leavey Photography