Transgender is a fact of life

From The Times Union (Albany, NY):

Published 7:56 pm, Thursday, December 27, 2012

The movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality has made great strides over the past few years. In 2011, state legislators finally realized that all loving, committed New Yorkers should be free to marry the person they love. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama followed suit, and we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will soon reach the same conclusion.

Despite such progress, there is one life-threatening omission The T in LGBT has been left behind. As parents of a transgender daughter, we are deeply concerned that, merely because of her gender identity and expression, our state’s laws deny our daughter basic civil rights and protections that others take for granted. This is why our New Year’s wish for 2013 is that New York lawmakers pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. It is also our New Year’s resolution not to rest until this law passes.

Without this basic, common sense measure -— which enjoys broad public support — transgender citizens face legal challenges in categories as basic as employment and housing. For living her life openly, with dignity and authenticity, our daughter can be fired from her job or denied or removed from housing, both without recourse, simply because she is transgender. We do not accept that our child or anyone should have to endure these challenges, yet they remain a fact of life for our daughter and thousands of others only because of the lack of action by our state Legislature.

The passage of GENDA, as the proposed law is known, is not only a necessary, life-affirming measure for thousands of New Yorkers and their families. It also finishes a job that is already started. Today, almost 60 percent of New Yorkers are covered by county or municipal laws that protect people based on gender identity and expression, and passage of GENDA would bring parity to the remainder of the state’s residents. Furthermore, 16 states and countless municipalities, many that are far more conservative than New York, have passed such laws, all without incident. Ironically, New York is widely perceived as progressive, yet when it comes to protecting our daughter, we have yet to catch up with Colorado, New Mexico, and Illinois.

2 Responses to “Transgender is a fact of life”

  1. quenyar Says:

    I can’t agree with this one. What we need is national legislation to make employment discrimination, for whatever reason, illegal… not yet another alphabet soup specific inclusion that will guarantee the exclusion of other equally deserving people. ENDA should be specifically non-specific, so that it can protect everyone from employment discrimination, for whatever reason. Our laws should reflect the cultural shift away from any kind of discrimination being OK. Unfortunately, under our precedent-driven legal system, when you protect group A by name, you exclude B-Z groups from protection. Shouldn’t be so, but is.

    • Suzan Says:

      Unfortunately the history of anti-discrimination measures has been one of incremental progress via special interest groups protests. The hard core right wing bigot culture loves to hate and moves from targeting one group as a focal point for their bigotry to another group. On the other hand the left has been so cowed by the massive war on the left they have rarely been able to unite all the oppressed groups around the common cause. The old IWW slogan was “An injury to one is an injury to all.” That organization was destroyed by the corporate gun thugs, National Guard, and the WW I Sedition Acts that arrested and deported many of the leaders.

      Even the Democratic Party conspired to prevent Henry Wallace from replacing FDR and continuing the New Deal.

      While I am disappointed in President Obama, I am heartened by the movement building aspects of the groups that united to elect him twice.

      Now if we can only find a real Progressive candidate for 2016, and no Hillary is neither a Progressive nor is she a representative of the interests of common American people.

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