Laverne Cox, Gabrielle Union and Halle Berry have joined hundreds of prominent feminists in taking a stand for trans women and girls.
More than 465 feminist leaders in business, entertainment, media, politics and social justice signed an open letter released by GLAAD in honour of the Transgender Day of Visibility on Wednesday (31 March).
The letter calls for an end to the ongoing discriminatory rhetoric and attacks against trans people, and serves as a proud statement of solidarity between cis and transgender women.
Signatories include A-list celebrities such as Regina King, Selena Gomez and Megan Rapinoe, as well as activists and women’s rights groups like Gloria Steinem, the Me Too Movement and Planned Parenthood.
Others who signed include Mj Rodriguez, Patricia Arquette, Judith Light, Cynthia Erivo, Anna Wintour, Chelsea Clinton, Sarah Paulson, Peppermint, Lena Dunham, Beanie Feldstein, Alison Brie, Bella Hadid, Lena Waithe, Wanda Sykes and Janelle Monáe.
“Trans women and girls have been an integral part of the fight for gender liberation. We uphold that truth and denounce the ongoing anti-transgender rhetoric and efforts we witness in various industries,” they declare.
“We acknowledge with clarity and strength that transgender women are women and that transgender girls are girls. And we believe that honouring the diversity of women’s experiences is a strength, not a detriment to the feminist cause.
“All of us deserve the same access, freedoms, and opportunities. We deserve equal access to education, employment, healthcare, housing, recreation, and public accommodations. And we must respect each person’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination.”
The signatories highlight the “wave of bigoted governmental policies and legislation” launched this year in the form of bills banning trans healthcare and inclusion in sports. They draw parallels with past efforts to legislate cis women’s healthcare, warning: “We refuse to let youth endure that now.”
The letter calls on others to fight against these “unnecessary and unethical barriers” placed on trans women and girls by lawmakers, as well as “those who co-opt the feminist label in the name of division and hatred”.
“Our feminism must be unapologetically expansive so that we can leave the door open for future generations,” they state conclusively. You can read their letter here in full.