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Being transgender comes with a lot of difficulties, including finding a political candidate who pays attention to the trans community. Very few candidates focus on issues like the gay/transgender panic defense, which asserts that violence towards a person upon learning their LGBT identity is justified. Currently, Iowa is one of the 49 states that still allows that bigoted defense. When I go out, I don't want to hide my identity in order to stay safe. I want to do more than survive; I want to thrive in my state with the protection I deserve.

That's why I support Cathy Glasson for governor. One of her main campaign focuses is banning the gay/transgender panic defense outright, ensuring the safety of Iowans of all identities. She's also very focused on the inclusion of gender identity in hate crime legislation to protect trans people. Last year, 28 people, including my friend Gwynevere, were murdered in transphobic hate crimes. I don't want to lose any more friends, and I definitely do not want to lose my own life. Those extra inclusions won't bring back lives lost, but they will save so many more; Iowa needs its trans citizens.

It's terrifying to be acutely aware of how often you're in danger, but Cathy is fighting to make sure that people like me are safer in our own state. I deserve safety, and Cathy Glasson believes so too.

Lou Ramsey, Iowa City

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