In 2014, we decided to change our name from Trans Student Equality Resources to Trans Student Educational Resources. Many people have asked us why. The reason is simple: equality is not enough. Every person has different identities, needs, and abilities. These need to be supported, which cannot be done the same way for every person. Additionally, equality means that trans students would just have the same access to the broken education system as their peers, a system that we would rather see restructured and improved as a whole than see ourselves assimilated to. They would still be subjected to standardized testing that is a better representation of their class and race than their academic ability. They would not be able to express and center their experiences as trans people within an academic setting. Equality means that the most marginalized groups – the low-income queer trans youth of color facing various other forms of oppression – won’t get the support they need. Limiting our visions for the future to equality means that we are complicit in the oppression of others. We, as an organization, do not condone any of this.
What we do support is transformative justice. We do this by educating our community and teaching trans activists how to be effective organizers. We advocate for educational transformation for trans students in school, changing the ways in which education happens rather than slowly reforming the current academic system. We care about all marginalized communities and realize that granting equality will not be enough to stop oppression. Trans liberation will come from justice, not just rights.
Read TSER co-founder and director Eli Erlick’s critical article on equality here.
By Interaction Institute for Social Change