OPINION: Trans-forming Women’s History Month

It’s time to start including trans women in women’s history month


Women’s History Month is a powerful time of year for women. It is an opportunity for people to look back on the history of women who have fought to be respected in a society largely dominated by men. From the women’s suffrage movement, to the Labor Rights Movement of the 1800s, to modern movements like #MeToo, women have worked unbelievably hard to get the freedom and respect they deserve. Women’s History Month is an incredible opportunity to think about the impact of women in our history, but while looking back and appreciating the history of women, it’s important to also learn about the history of transgender women. 

When asked to name a famous trans woman, people’s minds often go straight to Marsha P. Johnson, one of the leading activists in the Gay Liberation Movement and the Stonewall Uprising. In many ways, she set the groundwork for many of the later queer-rights movements, helping to change things for queer people moving into the 21st century. These movements led up to Admiral Rachel Levine recently becoming the first trans woman elected to a federal office requiring Senate confirmation. Similarly, there have been many incredible trans women in the world of sports, such as retired pro tennis player Renée Richards and former Olympic gold-medal-winning cyclist Veronica Ivy. Throughout history there have been many different trans women who have accomplished incredible things in their respective fields.

Appreciating trans women has never been more important than now, especially with the rising onslaught of anti-trans legislation hitting the community. According to the Human Rights Campaign, since the start of 2023 there have been almost 400 different bills proposed around the United States targeting the queer community, including a large number specifically aimed at transgender kids. These bills aim to block trans people from participating in sports, using public bathrooms, and even accessing medical care. In fact, right now in Florida children can be taken from their parents if their parents are found to be helping them to medically transition. Even worse than the bills is the rhetoric behind the anti-trans movement, exemplified best by a speaker at the recent CPAC conference named Michael Knowles, who said “for the good of society, transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” This intense anti-trans rhetoric has had a deep rooted cultural impact, leading many to feel emboldened to express their hatred of trans people through acts of violence. In the past three months there have already been six targeted murders of trans people, and it’s likely that many more will come. In fact, in some of the least trans-friendly states, trans women are applying for refugee status in Europe or Canada with the hopes of escaping persecution.

With the increasing amount of hate directed towards trans women, many in the community have found themselves afraid both for their long-term security and their physical safety. Trans people are capable of accomplishing so much, but the anti-trans sentiments in politics and culture are holding the community back. In order to have any hope of confronting the rise of transphobia, it’s crucial that people are educated on the realities of trans women and learn to celebrate their historical impact. Jones College Prep is known for being a progressive community with many politically active and community minded people, but sometimes it can be easy to forget or leave out certain people. So this women’s history month we have to work hard to integrate trans women into our celebration of women.