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Celebrities, activists sign open letter supporting transgender women

March 31 (UPI) -- Hundreds of celebrities and activists are showing their support for transgender women and girls.

Singers Selena Gomez and Janelle Monáe, actresses Laverne Cox and Gabrielle Union, activist Gloria Steinem and over 460 others signed an open letter from GLAAD released Wednesday on Transgender Day of Visibility.

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The letter declares "that transgender women are women and that transgender girls are girls" and denounces anti-transgender attacks, rhetoric and legislation.

"All of us deserve the same access, freedoms, and opportunities. We deserve equal access to education, employment, healthcare, housing, recreation, and public accommodations. And we must respect each person's right to bodily autonomy and self-determination," the statement reads.

The letter also calls out trans-exclusionary feminists for "promoting damaging and violent ideas about trans people for years."

"True feminists do not wish to limit any woman's identity or freedom to fully be herself," the letter reads.

The letter also addresses the "ongoing epidemic of murder and violence" specifically targeting Black and Latinx trans women. More than 44 trans people were killed in 2020, while at least nine deaths have been reported this year.

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"We all must fight against the unnecessary and unethical barriers placed on trans women and girls by lawmakers and those who co-opt the feminist label in the name of division and hatred. Our feminist must be unapologetically expansive so that we can leave the door open for future generations," the letter concludes.

Other notable signatories include Regina King, Cynthia Erivo, Brie Larson, Wanda Sykes, Lena Waithe, Sarah Paulson, America Ferrera, Halle Berry, Melissa Etheridge and Lena Dunham.

Earlier this week, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued executive order banning transgender girls and women athletes from competing in female sports at public schools.

In addition, Arkansas passed a bill banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

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