The “baker’s dozen” of 2012 — the most incredible 13 months in transgender (as well as LGBT) civil rights history, began on Dec 6, 2011, with two remarkable events. The first was a presidential proclamation:
The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.
That proclamation was rapidly followed by Secretary Clinton’s call to action in Geneva:
Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal, or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights… No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.
The second, on the same day, was the landmark 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Atlanta, Glenn v Brumby, declaring transgender and gender non-conforming persons a protected class subject to heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This three judge panel, including the very conservative judge, William Pryor, expanded protections against discrimination rooted in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and first affirmed by the highest court in the 1989 Price Waterhouse v Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989), a Title VII case. The panel ruled that discrimination against trans persons is unconstitutional:
A person is defined as transgender precisely because of the perception that his or her behavior transgresses gender stereotypes… There is thus congruence between discriminating against transgender and transsexual individuals and discrimination on the basis of gender-based behavioral norms.
Those two historic declarations would have been sufficient — dayenu, in Hebrew — but that was just the beginning, just one single day.