FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2018
Trump Republicans Target Transgender Rights
fresno—Recently, the Trump administration announced that it plans to roll back protections for transgender people by tying gender identity to genitalia at birth. This is an attack aimed not only at reducing transgender protections but also at nullifying the very concept of transgender rights. Trump is deliberately inflaming his base’s fear of transgendered individuals in the hope of increasing right-wing voter turnout in the midterm elections.
The Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services has put forth a memo trying to establish a restrictive legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance. The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, determined by the genitals that a person is born with. It calls for mandatory genetic testing as the final proof in any dispute.
This ham-fisted attempt to roll back Obama-era advances ignores gender entirely as a concept, relying on a restrictive definition of biological sex to deny transgender people civil rights protection.
“Trump’s ongoing demonization of anyone who doesn’t look like his base is appalling,” says Michael D. Evans, chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party. “Civil rights should apply to every resident of our nation.”
Researchers say gender identity comes from the brain, not the genitals, and denying that is an act with potentially deadly consequences. Distress over the mind-body mismatch can become especially intense around puberty, and the risk of suicide shoots up for young people in this situation.
Transgender young people have high rates of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use, self-harm and suicide. These problems are alleviated by allowing individuals to be perceived as their true gender identity. It is a simple act that can ease a lot of pain.
“We must decide who we are as Americans,” said Evans. “Do we accept the discrimination and hate advocated by Trump and the radical right, or do we stand in solidarity for civility and respect for everyone in our country?”
Trump and his allies in Congress are just warming up, and if we want to stop these despicable policies from harming trans folk across the country, we need to vote for Democrats this election.
People have the power. Vote on Nov. 6.
As we rush to put those last minute finishing touches on costumes and get our kids out the door, please allow me a minute to update you on what I’ve been up to this month.
October saw the conclusion of the inaugural California Ballot Bowl. While the official results have yet to be released (stay tuned), we can say that the Ballot Bowl registered over 10,000 student voters!
All these newly registered voters add to the already record-breaking voter registration numbers for this election season. When voter registration is at an all-time high, our democracy wins too.
But high voter registration numbers don’t mean anything if people don’t vote. With a critical election less than a week away, we’re working hard to make voting easier and safer than ever.
Most notably, the five counties of Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo have adopted the Voter’s Choice Act. Every registered voter in those counties have received their ballots in the mail. Their next step is to mail them in, drop them off to a secure county ballot drop box, or cast their ballot at any vote center in the county.
The office of Secretary of State is integral to preserving democracy through increasing voter registration, participation, and election cybersecurity. I’m grateful to have earned the endorsement of the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee along with the endorsements of Governor Jerry Brown, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris heading into Election Day.
Most importantly, it’s supporters like you who have fueled my re-election campaign and the voter empowerment work of my first term.
Thank you for supporting me and my re-election campaign while I work to increase voter registration and better secure elections in California. Will you contribute $10 to help ensure my re-election so I can continue to defend our democracy?
Finally, make sure you, your family and friends have all made a plan to vote this November 6th.
Thank you for your continued support and engagement,
California Secretary of State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2018
Caravan to America
fresno—It began in Honduras as a series of Facebook posts and WhatsApp conversations, as various small groups spoke of banding together for the journey north. Soon the idea developed a momentum of its own. People, fearing for their lives from crime, the government and starvation saw the notices and packed their bags within hours.
Many had considered fleeing north for a long time but lacked the thousands of dollars that guides usually charged. Safety in numbers was the only other alternative. So they started walking north. The vaguely defined caravan numbered around 7,000 when it crossed the Mexican border but has lessened to a few thousand now.
Across the political right, politicians have been screaming about a conspiracy. Donald Trump has accused the Democratic Party of bribing migrants. The Honduran ambassador to Mexico has blamed former Honduran legislator Bartolo Fuentes, whereas Vice President Mike Pence has blamed the government of Venezuela. However, this right-wing search for guilt is hopeless.
“Leave it to Donald Trump and the radical right to politicize yet another unfortunate situation,” says Michael D. Evans. “Individuals seeking asylum from the horrors in their own country should be given a fair and transparent hearing at our border.”
Irineo Mujica, director of Tijuana-based Pueblos Sin Fronteras, said, “(N)o one has the power to organize this many people. No one can engineer an exodus.” The migrants’ path has been eased by support from governments, the Roman Catholic Church, community groups and citizens.
The caravan members have heard Donald Trump’s opinion of them, and yet they continue to walk. These are people who believe there is a chance they will be shot by American military forces when they reach the border, and yet still prefer that to the prospects for survival in their home country.
An incredible number of the migrants have lost at least one family member to violence from gangs, the police, or the family member has simply disappeared without a trace. In the face of all of that, even this grueling and unrelenting march is preferable.
This is what the Republican Party does not understand. No amount of militarization at the border can stop this kind of movement. When people would rather walk into Border Guard rifles than stay in their home country, no expensive wall will keep them out.
Despite everything Trump has tried, the huddled masses still see the United States as a place where they might breathe free. The only answer is to help those who need it, protect those in danger and cooperate with other countries to try and make sure the migrants can have a safe home to return to.
The Fresno County Democratic Party urges the Trump administration to work with both parties to craft a nonpartisan solution to immigration to avoid the chaos and inhumane conditions suffered by those immigrants were separated from their children while attempting to enter the United States to request asylum.
“The strength of democracy is measured by a country’s adherence to basic principles¾freedom of the press, free and fair elections, the rights of minorities and the rule of law,” says Esperanza Avalos, a Fresno-based community organizer. “Attacks on the press, minorities, voter suppression and the laws that protect these rights weakens democracy.”
Inflammatory rhetoric that divides citizens, targets minorities and ignores the rule of law threatens the security of all citizens and gives extremists, domestic or foreign, fertile ground and greater room to operate.
“We need comprehensive immigration reform, and we need it now,” notes Evans. “There must be a pathway for workers to enter this country to satisfy the needs of our labor force, and we must provide a pathway to citizenship. The benefits from the diversity of our workforce and our society are limitless.”
People have the power. Vote on Nov. 6.