Transgender people are some of the least protected, most persecuted people in the United States.As they say, Read The Whole Thing. The author gets it.
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.
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
That's the title of an article appearing in the right-wing magazine, The New Republic: