Warren Promises To Annually Read Aloud Names of 'Transgender Women' of Color Who Have Been Killed


If you want a meaningless promise, Elizabeth Warren is your woman,

Warren has a multitude of promises for you, mostly economic. The likelihood she’ll see any of them enacted (if she’s elected) is roughly zero because even members of her party have common sense. That doesn’t mean she won’t continue to flog them even though there’s no chance they’ll see the light of day no matter how many years she has in office.

There are also meaningless promises of the cultural sort. Take Thursday’s Democratic debate, in which the topic of the murder of black transgender individuals came up.

Elizabeth Warren’s solution? Read their names from the Rose Garden annually.

Warren said that violence against “the transgender community has been marginalized in every way possible” and that one of the things a president should do is “lift up attention, lift up their voices, lift up their lives.”

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“Here’s a promise I make — I will go to the Rose Garden once every year to read the names of transgender women, of people of color, who have been killed in the past year,” Warren said during the PBS NewsHour/Politico debate in Los Angeles.

“I will make sure that we read their names so that, as a nation, we are forced to address the particular vulnerability on homelessness,” she continued. “I will change the rules now that put people in prison based on their birth sex identification rather than their current identification. I will do everything I can to make sure that we are an America that leaves no one behind.”

Do you think Elizabeth Warren will be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee?

The common narrative on the left is that violence against those born male but who identify as female, particularly those of color, is statistically high.

But here’s what statistically high means for violence against transgender individuals: 22 dead in the past year.

While this number may be underreported due to a number of factors — jurisdictions that don’t report whether a victim is transgender or family and friends telling police that the victim was their biological gender as opposed to transgender — it would still be numerically low.

Since 2013, according to CNN, 157 “transgender and gender non-conforming people” have been killed, 111 of whom were “black trans women.”

Out of the 22 transgender individuals killed this year, 20 were “black trans women,” CNN reported. Problematic and tragic? Yes. But terming it an epidemic, as some have, is nothing more than a scare tactic.

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“So why are black trans women so disproportionately affected?” CNN’s Harmeet Kaur asked.

“They’re black, they’re transgender, and they’re women. Each of those distinct identities means that they face discrimination, prejudice and inequities on multiple fronts.”

That’s your causation? After speaking with experts, intersectionality is the answer a CNN reporter came up with? I think as president, solving this problem would be best handled by first getting federal law enforcement to identify a unifying thread or threads, if any, in these deaths. Have them discover whether this was a pattern of hate or a more complex set of circumstances.

Most importantly, though, is that leadership in this situation is letting law enforcement to lead. This isn’t something that needs to be solved at the Oval Office level.

To put this in perspective: In 2016, more than 25,000 seniors died in falls. Is this an Oval Office issue, despite the fact that you could save exponentially more lives by spending resources tackling that?

Yes, the number of black men who identified as women being murdered may be numerically small, but it represents a worrying trend. The key is to have federal law enforcement find the problem and address it, not for the president to “lift up attention, lift up their voices, lift up their lives,” which is the first solution Warren seemed to come up with.

And that’s what we have: a promise to read victims’ names from the Rose Garden every year. That’s the first thing that came to Warren’s mind. Not justice, not solutions, but a Rose Garden reading service.

This got praise from the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group.

“Tonight, the epidemic of violence against transgender people — especially trans women of color — was for the first time meaningfully discussed on the main stage of the Democratic presidential debate,” HRC president Alphonso David said after the debate, according to The Hill.

“Now, more than ever, it is vital that our voices are heard and that the candidates are able to address our community directly. Thank you to Politico, PBS and the Democratic National Committee for creating space for this crucial conversation.”

It’s not addressing any community directly to placate them by saying you’ll have a Rose Garden name-reading session if you become president.

That’s nothing more than pandering to the base. It was a moment for shame, not applause.

Warren’s promise to the transgender community is an identity politics sop as empty as her promises to those who want free health care or their student loan debt wiped out.

It means nothing. It’s not action, it’s words masquerading as actions.

If the senator from Massachusetts wants to be taken seriously in this matter, she needs real solutions to real problems, not bizarre and cynical Rose Garden photo-ops.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture