I just had this bomb dropped on me in a conversation I had with someone the other day… they thought that the transgender movement for rights is silly, and that trans people have the same rights as any other American. They said, and I quote, “Just sensitive people looking for special rights and privilege, if you ask me.” I didn’t really know how to reply to this. A part of me feels like this is just another troll here to make me wanna bash my head into something solid… but some of the things he was also saying I had discussed previously, like someone’s chromosomes don’t necessarily tell you the gender or gender identity of the person, so I felt as if I should get a little detailed in my explanation of this one and I posted the link in hopes he would find himself reading this blog to inform himself, on what I would like to consider, unbiased truths.
First off, transgender individuals face much discrimination in the work force. There are several states out there who have added to the non-discrimination law to protect someone with “transgender status”. There are still a good handful of states that don’t give this protection, and usually when someone comes out as trans*, are fired right off the bat. The law also doesn’t protect us from just not being hired in the first place. There are many businesses that just wouldn’t want to deal with the drama they think will happen when they hire said person, and just won’t give them a chance to begin with… and there is nothing the laws can to to stop this. For more on this, you can read this wonderful article called “Transgender Workers at Greater Risk For Unemployment and Poverty.”
Another big thing that the transgender movement is fighting for is the rights to use the correct bathrooms, and if you read a little further you can see I covered this one in a previous argument.
A lack of sufficient access to quality healthcare that’s free of discrimination is another big one that trans* people face. This is important too because most of us are in the process of doing things medically that if our healthcare providers don’t want to cover them because of the fact alone that we are transgender. That means it’s all out of pocket expenses that adding to the first point made, most can’t afford themselves. Also, many surgeries needed to become the right gender are still considered cosmetic, which is quite unfair. Though, SRS is now covered by medicaid, so we are in the right direction!
The last thing I can think of off the top of my head is that transgender individuals face difficulties in obtaining appropriate name and gender designations on their identity documents. For a lot of people it can be tough to even get a name change, and the judge will just deny them because they don’t feel it’s right. Some states also make you post it in the paper that you changed your name from this to that. This alone is not only embarrassing, but in my opinion just ridiculous. Oh and, don’t get me started on trying to change the M to an F, or vice versa… that alone is different in every state and can be tough for most people.
The verdict? You might think from the stands that transgender people have the same rights as everyone else, but you are surely mistaken. They can be fired, face high unemployment rates, discrimination in health care, and even discrimination in trying to rent housing, and have a tough time just trying to match their legal documents to who they are. This is what we face every day, and it certainly is no walk in the park! This is why more people need to be informed about the true nature of the transgender condition, or we will continue to face these problems in every day life.