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The Transgender Community & Civil Rights

Oct 26, 2018 • by Jocelyn Claire Young, Transgender Activist and Writer
Gender Identity and America

On October 21, 2018, it was announced that the current White House Administration is developing a new attack on the LGBT community to placate the religious right.  This new attack will essentially write the transgender community out of the civil rights protections by narrowly defining “gender”.

The Obama administration understood that gender is self-determined.  Federal courts have repeatedly ruled that discrimination against transgender individuals is a violation of existing civil rights law that prohibits gender discrimination.

The current White House Administration has been continuously attacking the transgender community since it took office in order to appease the religious right minority.  This new legal definition of “gender” would change the meaning to “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.”  Thereby eliminating the transgender community from federal civil rights protections.

Such a move would eradicate 2 million persons from equal access to health care, housing, education and, basically, fair treatment under the law.  This move would completely disregard established medical and legal views of transgender rights in order to mollify a select few who hide behind the term “religious freedom” in order to get their way.

The term immutable is used in the proposed definition.  Immutable is defined by Webster’s as “not capable of or susceptible to change”.  Without knowing this the Administration has exactly defined who transgender persons are.  Much like our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters this is who we are.  This is not a choice.  We were born this way.  Regardless if you are a transgender man or woman, we are who we are; therefore this is immutable.  The medical profession as well as the psychological profession have determined through research this is who we are. There is nothing wrong with transgender men or women being themselves.  Whether this result meets with acceptance of the religious right should be irrelevant and the result must be acknowledge and accepted that there are minorities in the American community that do not meet the predefined societal roles of male and female.  Therefore, transgender men and women are entitled to the same rights and protections as any other American.

As an American citizen and a transwoman I would like to close this with a comment from the late and Honorable Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from his “Racism in the US”:

“We must dissent from the indifference.                                                    We must dissent from the apathy.                                                            We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust.                        We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.”

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