We are not there yet, we are still sort of like gays and lesbians. Progressive, fair minded people treat us like neighbors who happen to be part of a minority group.
Which, all the transgressive gender outlaw/transgender ballyhoo aside, is what we really are.
Scrape off the idea of flamboyant drag queens in parades and club, people who are performing and generally have real lives outside of their performance and the “gender outlaws” who are often young people in academic or other safe environments where rebellion is chic if not mandatory and you are left with a whole lot of people who have to worry about mundane stuff.
Marriage equality is coming, employment non-discrimination is going to be harder, because the Christo-Nazis are starting to make all sorts of noise about how paying for contraception coverage, and hiring people they hate violates their religious freedom.
But if we look around there is probably a numerical majority of people who are having issues with employment discrimination. Racism is alive and well, people of color are actively discriminated against. Places like Chick fil-A and Hobby Lobby are alleged to feel they have a right to ask about people’s religious practices and discriminate against those they feel are not “real Christians.” Domino’s Pizza and others feel they should have the right to dictate women’s reproductive freedom and refuse to pay for Government mandated insurance that covers contraception.
Corporations regularly engage in age discrimination and all sorts of invasions of employee privacy.
For many TS/TG people coming out means stepping on the down escalator when it comes to employment and social mobility. TS/TG is and for the foreseeable future will be a class that is discriminated against and bullied. But over the last couple of years I have seen many TS/TG people make the connection with other groups and classes of people who are also discriminated against.
I was elated to see so many of my sisters and brothers supporting Occupy. Lately we seem to be everywhere and speaking out on all sorts of issues. This means we are moving beyond the we of identity politics to the larger we of all oppressed people.
Still there are TS/TG people who cling to their own bigotries, their racism, classism, homophobia and internalized transphobia. On an up note people pushing these trips are increasingly seen as trolls.
Making sure we are included in health care programs is going to be important. If the right wing doesn’t want to pay for women’s health care including contraception then we better be ready for the shit storm that will happen when we demand coverage for TS/TG health care issues.
Retail sales and the like have become the main source of employment for a major segment of the working population. Big box workers include people with degrees, some of those degrees are in fields like engineering. Some are even advanced degrees. Many people are deliberately held to part time hours. A living wage of 15-20 dollars per hour and health care should be the right of all workers.
This is something that impacts a lot of TS/TG people.
As a loosely defined group TS/TG people have a lot of substance issues. We need to see more support groups for TS/TG people trying to deal with those issues. Too often people feel excluded from straight sobriety support groups. People are hesitant to talk about TS/TG specific issues around cis-folks. A life time of being put down leads to fear that if they try to talk about their specific issues they will be told not to come back to that meeting.
The modern TS/TG movement is around twenty years old and a lot of this stuff is about a movement maturing. Now some lucky kids with supportive parents are able to come out as kids, but some are still runaways and throwaways. We need to continue to support places like the Ali Forney Center and the LAGLCC that provide housing for some of those throwaway kids.
A New Year, New Challenges many of the same old problems.