Wednesday, 29 June 2011

America's Next Great Civil Rights Struggle

That's the title of an article appearing in the right-wing magazine, The New Republic:
Transgender people are some of the least protected, most persecuted people in the United States.
Transgender people are regularly evicted from their homes, fired from their jobs, and denied medical treatment. Last July, emergency room staff in an Indiana hospital refused to help a trans woman who was coughing up blood, referring to her as “it.” More than a quarter of transgender people surveyed say they have lost a job because of discrimination. Transgender people are more likely to become homeless (at an average age of 13, in New York City). And then there is the obstacle course of inconveniences that reminds transgender people every day that they don’t belong. One trans woman told me her company requires her to lock herself in when she uses the restroom—even though it’s multi-occupancy—so she is acutely aware of making other women wait. In some states, a court order is required to change a person’s gender on a driver’s license. Many health insurance plans only cover procedures for one gender, so a person born male who transitions to female can’t get both a prostate check and a mammogram.

For some, these challenges prove insurmountable. Four years ago, Mike Penner, a longtime sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, came out to the world as Christine Daniels. But, after a year and a half, unable to cope with the scrutiny, she changed her name back to Mike and returned to living as a man. A year later, she killed herself. Daniels’s story was tragically typical: More than one in three transgender people attempt suicide at some point in their lives.

But these are statistics, and people are rarely moved by statistics. In this country, civil rights movements have prevailed when they have convinced enough people that a minority is being treated in a way that is fundamentally un-American. For this to happen, people need to see members of a disadvantaged group as human beings before anything else.
As they say, Read The Whole Thing. The author gets it.


Anonymous said...

It has been described as "left of center", not right-wing.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh another "special class" wanting special unconstitutional laws and rules for them while crying about how discriminated they are. And dont forget the school leasons about homosexuality to 8 year olds that dont even know what sexuality is.

Zoe Brain said...

Given that a number of those children have two mommies or two daddies, I think they should know about as much about homosexuality as most kids should about heterosexuality.

Kids ask questions - and should receive age-appropriate answers, not silence or worse, outright lies.

As for "unconstitutional" - look up the 14th amendment.

Then decide if these stats show equal treatment: Injustice at every turn.

Special rights are only appropriate when special wrongs are being done. Hence the Civil Rights Act 1964.

Those on the Right, like me, are supposed to be swayed by facts, not political correctness or political incorrectness.

In view of those facts, what say you?

TransAlien-Menace....Cynthia M. said...

Hi Zoe...Thank you! Your the best! It looks as though anonymous, like most people on the right of these issues, has not even done any homework, and is only coming from an ideological viewpoint. This Ideological position is not Goddesses! It's man made illusions, and lies! When I try to counter this kind of bullshit, I get too flustered. Thank you, thank you!

Carolyn Ann said...

The New Republic (now) requires a subscription to view that article.

I dispute that those on the "Right" are supposed to be swayed by "facts". The "Right" is all about fictions, not facts. While both the left and the right try to insist upon their version of the "truth", you should know that "facts" have very little to do with American conservative thinking. Indeed, contemporary right wing thinking avoids facts altogether, preferring to package whimsy and emotional alarm as "fact". Personally, I'd argue that the last Republican President who was swayed by facts was Eisenhower, in the 1950's; I'd also give a slight nod to George Bush the First.

I don't understand your reference between "unconstitutional" and the 14th Amendment. Could you elaborate on that?

Anonymous said...

Shayna said.....

The 14th Amendment has an "equal protection clause" which, in essence, requires states to provide equal protection to all individuals within its jurisdiction. For example, no state law may condone sexual discrimination. In the US, Minnesota statute 363 was enacted in recognition of the fact that employers in the state were terminating transgender employees and to provide relief. [Ten other states and Wash. D.C. have done the same while Congress has repeatedly refused to pass ENDA.]

Thus, when "anonymous" rants about a "special class" wanting "special unconstitutional laws", he inadvertently disclosed his lack of knowledge. The 14th amendment is part of the constitution.

Finally, the amendment also contains the "due process clause" prohibiting any level of government from denying any individual of life, liberty, and property.

Anonymous said...

Glad that some found the article worth reading... Now pass it along to your non-transgender friends if you want to really have an impact. Either way, thanks for reading it - Caroline T.

Zoe Brain said...

Hi Caroline - and thanks. The majority of my readership isn't trans, but yes, passing it around to a wider audience still would be a great idea.

Especially in view of the recent RadFem submission to the UN calling for all legal rights for Trans and Intersex people to be withdrawn as they constitute a threat to all females.

Naturally I passed it on (without comment) to the ACT Law Reform Council that is currently reviewing laws about TS and IS people. It's my duty as an advisor to make sure *all* voices are heard, not just ones I agree with.

I think I may have to blog about that.