OutFront Minnesota and Gender Justice stands with Transgender Minnesotans: A Call to End Anti-LGBTQ Rhetoric

Contact: Monica Meyer, Executive Director, OutFront Minnesota: mmeyer@outfront.org 

              Megan Peterson, Executive Director, Gender Justice: info@genderjustice.us 

November, 10 2017 (Minneapolis, MN) ---- Minnesota was the first state in the country to elect openly transgender black elected officials to a major city’s City Council.  Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham were elected to Minneapolis City Council in this historic election. This victory is accompanied by extreme hate and discrimination from people and organizations that are anti- LGBTQ.  Within 48 hours anti-trans tweets and threats of violence have been levied at our trans community.

Specifically, Kevin Sawyer, an admin on the Facebook group North Vent, posted that he hopes Councilmember Cunningham gets shot.  Also, one of Minnesota’s elected officials, GOP Rep. Mary Franson (Alexandria, District 08B), tweeted that transgender people have a mental health condition.

Here are the facts:

  • The American Psychological Association and all major, credible medical organizations affirm that being transgender is not a mental health disorder and that gender identity does not equate to sex organs.
  • Minnesota ranks 2nd in regards to racial disparities for Black Minnesotans across education, health, economic, and employment. These racial disparities are worse for Black LGBTQ Minnesotans.
  • Transgender people and members of the LGBTQ communities have increased rates of violence, discrimination, and hatred against them precisely because of hateful ideas and rhetoric like these that are being perpetrated across the country.

We want to remind people that in 2017 at least 25 transgender people have already been murdered.  It is despicable and egregiously wrong for anyone to advocate to do harm and incite violence against another human.  The citizenry has demonstrated through our democracy who Minneapolis wants to represent their values and priorities.  This is an opportunity for community members, elected officials from both sides of the aisle, and our country to come together against a potential future which accepts and allows hateful and discriminatory actions and policies to govern us.  

The words and actions of these individuals and those like them creates more division and only exacerbates the stigma against queer, trans, and gender diverse bodies.  This is not the Minnesota or country that we strive to be and this behavior should not be acceptable in our communities.