NIWRC Opposes Anti-Transgender Legislation, Legislators
A Native-led, Women-led Response to the Passing of SB 180 in Kansas and the Mistreatment of Zooey Zephyr
Despite opposition from the state’s governor, Laura Kelly, Kansas passed SB 180 in Kansas. This bill, passed Thursday, April 27, is arguably the most anti-transgender bathroom legislation in United States history. The law prohibits transgender women from using any public space designated for “women,” including restrooms, locker rooms, and prison facilities, among others; additionally, it bars transgender women’s ability to seek safe shelter in cases of abuse by denying them access to domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers.
In addition to the aforementioned legislation, we were appalled to learn of the treatment of Montana State Representative Zooey Zephyr earlier this month, who was “formally punished” and banned from entering the House floor for the remainder of the session due to her remarks on the crucial status of transgender rights and safety.
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) vehemently condemns transphobic, antiwomen legislation demonstrating a complete and 16 Restoration • Volume 20, Issue 2 • National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center reprehensible disregard for our nation’s most vulnerable. We oppose these policies that can fuel hate crimes and lead to abuse, violence, and death. It is our mission to end violence against Native women, which is not limited to colonial western standards of gender, and is inclusive of our transgender, non-binary, and TwoSpirit (2S+) relatives.
The existing anti-woman, transphobic rhetoric that insists that a person must have been born with the ability to produce eggs in order to be considered a “woman” and have access to public spaces is abhorrent. Any attempt to limit transgender individuals’ access to public spaces, such as domestic violence shelters and housing, is a direct affront to the autonomy, safety, and bodily integrity of all women and all 2S+/LGBTQ+ relatives. Such measures will only serve to exacerbate the existing problem of gender-based violence. Therefore, we call on lawmakers not to be silent. This is a multigenerational, multiracial issue. As a national Native women-centered organization, we see and fight against hateful policies that are an affront to the human rights of our most vulnerable and attempt to erase and silence our relatives.
We acknowledge that domestic violence and sexual violence affects individuals of all genders, including our 2S+/LGBTQ+ relatives, who experience these forms of violence at disproportionately high rates. Our work to raise awareness of gender-based violence includes a commitment to honoring traditional Indigenous teachings that promote respect for all identities and celebrate diversity.
As relatives, we have a responsibility to speak out against harmful beliefs and attitudes towards our 2S+/ LGBTQ+ relatives and use our Indigenous values and sacred teachings of love, respect, and compassion to advocate for their safety and well-being. Together, we can create a culture of inclusivity and support where all individuals, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, are valued and protected from violence and abuse.
Transgender and Two-Spirit individuals face an elevated risk of domestic violence and sexual assault, largely due to the discrimination, stigma, and financial and housing insecurity experienced by the transgender community. The U.S Transgender Survey highlights that 54% of transgender individuals will encounter domestic violence in their lifetime. Additionally, according to a study conducted by the Williams Institute, 8% of transgender adults were homeless in the past year, compared to 2.5% of cisgender gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults. Moreover, transgender individuals are three times more likely to experience homelessness than their lesbian, gay, or bisexual counterparts.
Statement: The Los Angeles LGBT Center Condemns Kansas Passing The Broadest AntiTrans Bill In US History
Transgender Health Program from the Los Angeles LGBT Center
Toolkit: Reconnecting with Native Teachings and Creating Healing Spaces with and for 2S+/ LGBTQ+ Victim-Survivors of Domestic Violence - A Toolkit for Family and Friends
Conversation with the Field: Reconnecting with Native Teachings and Creating Healing Spaces with and for 2S+/LGBTQ+ Victim-Survivors of Domestic Violence
Restoration Magazine: Reconnecting with Indigenous Teachings to Create Healing Spaces with and for Native 2SLGBTQ Survivors of Violence
Two-Spirit Identity from StrongHearts Native Helpline
LGBTQ2S (Two-Spirit) Resources by the Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition
Two-Spirit People from the National Congress of American Indians
Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders from Indian Country Today
A Spotlight on Native LGBT from the National Congress of American Indians
Please view the statement and linked resources here.