Before I begin this blog I would like to say that this blog post is in no way intended to offend anyone of any gender. This entry was written as an outlet to discuss the topic of transgender people and poses questions that deal with equal rights for transgender people. The entry looks at various areas of discrimination against transgender persons as a way of addressing the issues they face and examining how the public views this discrimination and if they feel it is justified.
Should Transgender people have the same rights as other citizens?
For many people, the answer to that question is a quick and obvious yes, but for far more people than you would like to believe the answer is a definite No! Many would ask, why not? All humans should have the same rights, unless those rights have been evoked due to a crime or other offense committed by that person. But for many people the transgender lifestyle is still a taboo topic and the thought of accepting this lifestyle as a normal way of living is unacceptable.
After all, the decision to live your life as something other than what you were born as is merely that, a decision…right? It has been said over and over again that being transgender is not normal and that often deceptive lives many transgender people live is the cause of much of the harsh and sometimes deadly treatment they receive.
First let’s clear up the difference between transsexual and transgender. Being that I was completely oblivious to the differences myself, I looked to this article for clarification. For those males living their lives as females or females living their lives as males, and even those who have reassignment surgery (sex changes) to complete the package and link their body with the gender they associate with, everyday life is often filled with discrimination and hate.
According to The Human Rights Campaign, “There are no concrete statistics on the number of transgender people in the United States. Estimates on the number of transsexual people, which ignore the broader transgender population, range anywhere from 0.25 to 1 percent of the U.S. population. These estimates are dated and likely undercount the transsexual population because, for example, they do not account for people who have not yet undergone, cannot (for medical, financial, safety or other reasons) or choose not to undergo sex reassignment surgeries.”
This number may seem small, but for those people living their lives as transgender persons the obstacles they face are multitudinous. Transgender persons face issues on a wide range varying from work related issues to health care issues. They are often the victims of hate crimes and other crimes of a violent nature and many of them face lives rattled with depression and drug and or alcohol abuse.
For the most part, stories about the crimes against transgender persons don’t even make the news, if so they are brief and barely publicized. However some have made the news such as the beating of Duanna Johnson by Memphis police and later his/her murder which remains unsolved. Duanna Johnson was reportedly the third transgender person to die from a hate crime in Memphis in the past three years. The other two transgender persons murdered in Memphis were Tiffany Berry and Ebony Whitaker. Other stories such as those of Angie Zapata and Krissy Bates, also drew the attention of the news media after police reports indicated that they were brutally murdered after men uncovered that they were actually male instead of the females they portrayed.
Along with the fear of being found out and possibly harmed, many transgender people face harsh realities when seeking employment because they are either completely looked over for jobs in which they are qualified to do or some companies have policies in place that do not allow the hiring transgender persons.
Did you know that current federal government policies hinder transgender people from pursuing federal government jobs and they are denied the ability to join the armed forces?
Transgender people also face major hurdles when it comes to acquiring health care. Most public and private health insurance plans either do not offer health plans to transgender people or if they do there are discriminatory exclusions for transgender-related care that often limits the care the person can receive, sometimes up to no care at all.
Overall, transgender people live a life filled with obstacles that often seem unconquerable. They continue to fight for equal rights yet the laws of this country often prohibit them from obtaining the same services and acquiring the same jobs as their peers. Is this fair? If all people are seen as equals, how could ones gender limit them from having the same rights as other citizens? But on the other hand, would it be correct to force companies to hire people who portray themselves as one gender when they were actually born as another? How exactly would healthcare companies make exceptions for transgender people in order to fit them into policy guidelines? Or should the guidelines of these employers, companies and even some of our countries government policies be tweaked to include persons of all genders, even trans/genders?
Should this country change its “way of thinking” to make the transgender lifestyle one that is more acceptable and equal or should transgender persons accept the fact that when they make the “choice” to change their sex or live their lives as the gender they associate with rather than the gender in which they were born they also accept the fact that they will have rights as their “born gender” and that no revisions, tweaks or exceptions will be made to adjust to their lifestyle decision?
To find out more about Transgender Rights & The Fight for Equality, please visit The National Center for Transgender Equality.
Click here to read about The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)’s demands for an apology from Saturday Night Live for its recent transgender sketch. You can also view a video of the sketch.
Sidenote: After reading this story about a family that is allowing their six-year-old son to live as a girl I was shocked and disappointed that these parents had turned their son’s illness into a spectacle. The child has been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder which causes him to feel uncomfortable as a male so he acts and presents himself as a female. His family also presents him as their daughter. The boy was in kindergarten when the family was interviewed and he is allowed by his parents to live as a girl. He wears dresses, has pierced ears and is even allowed to go by a female name. His school is knowledgeable of his real identity. This entire fiasco, in my opinion, is ridiculous! I cannot digest parents enabling and promoting this behavior mainly because I cannot believe that a six-year-old child is trans anything. At that age no parent should be molding their child into something other than what they were born as. (just my two cents)
- Transgender Ridicule: Models to ‘SNL’ Sketches (abcnews.go.com)
- Transgender Day of Remembrance Recognizes Hate Crime Victims (gayrights.change.org)