The results of last month’s election sent shockwaves through many communities, not the least of which were transgender communities. For many trans and gender non-conforming people (TGNC) – already at heightened risk from increasingly dangerous policy proposals– the feeling turned from intense anxiety to one of palpable fear.

That fear is not imaginary. Lives are at stake, especially those of brown and black trans people. This reality leaves us with a choice as we plan the work ahead: Do we drop into a defensive crouch and seek refuge in the shadows or do we convert our collective fears into solidarity as diverse communities and fight out in the open for each other?

I know what my choice will be.

Anthony Romero, executive director of ACLU National, laid out the organization’s post-election priorities :

  • protecting the “Dreamers” who received presidential deferred action protection;
  • resisting any attempt to create a dragnet deportation force;
  • obstructing any effort to defund Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health service providers or deny reproductive rights;
  • preserving civil rights protections for transgender Americans;
  • preventing  “stop-and-frisk” policies from being adopted nationwide; and
  • opposing any ban levied against Muslims for entry into the United States or discrimination against Muslims in the United States.

Mr. Romero’s words make it clear that transgender people, our right to exist freely and openly and to participate fully in society is one of the ACLU’s top priorities. We are not alone.

We must continue our work to be recognized for who we authentically are; we must not retreat into the shadows, but we must do our work differently – in a more intersectional way. Gone are the days when my whiteness can shield me from the risks so many live with as a matter of fact. Gone are the days when privilege is an excuse to ignore, or worse, dictate to those with less what their priorities should be and how they should achieve them. We cannot “strategically” decide that the fight is simply too hard and leave those with the least power and the most to lose behind.

And so we pledge to fight for you when you are unable to fight for yourself. We will fight alongside you as you push forward and we will fight in the trenches with you when you are under assault.

Now it is time for the trans communities to do the same for one another. If one of us is cut, we all bleed.