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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Local transcommunity reacts to President Trumps' memo on gender

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President Trump’s memo on gender stated that gender needs to be defined either male, or female, unchangeable and determined by the genitals that a person is born with. 

Simon Kittok, executive director of the Grand Rapids Trans Foundation, says there has been a an increase in crisis within the trans community.  

“What we have seen is a spike in depression, and suicidal ideation within our community.”

According to Trans lifeline, a trans crisis hotline in the country reported their call in traffics had quadrupled after the memo was leaked. 

Trans individuals already experience high incidences of attempted suicide nearly at 9 times the rate of the rest of the population, according U.S Transgender Survey of 2015. Kittok says that if the memo were to be put in place, access to health care would radically change for the trans community. 

“Its very possible that gender affirming treatments would not be covered under insurance. It could also give doctors the go-ahead to blatantly discriminate against folks who are coming to them in their time of need.” 

For cis people, or individuals whose gender matches their gender identity, their responsibility according to Kittok is to educate themselves, and reach out to their trans friends with support. 

“Just educating yourself about what barriers exist for the trans community, respect trans identities which can mean using their chosen name, using the pronouns that they ask you to use. I think that if you do have, trans and intersex friends to reach out and make sure that they are doing okay.” 

Thus far, President Trump has not mandated an official policy regarding the trans community. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News

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