Our transgender rights are being stripped away by our current Administration. Here are a few that have had the most damaging impact.
It was the summer of 2016, when I came out to the world that I was going to transition from male to female. Obama was president, and there was a taste of hope and progress in the air. The Defense of Marriage Act was overturned the year prior, the Affordable Healthcare Act helped secure transgender inclusive healthcare coverage, and transgender individuals were told that they could serve openly in the military among other initiatives that supported the transgender and gender non-conforming community.
While in office, Trump and Pence have created an all-out attack on transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and their rights. Last week was internationally known as Transgender Awareness Week, so I’d like to spread awareness of the harsh anti-transgender initiatives that have been implemented over the course of the current administration.
While dismantling the Affordable Healthcare Act, the Trump-Pence administration directly targeted the LGBT community. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reported that on May 2nd, 2019 the current administration announced the final rule that sanctions discrimination by healthcare providers. The new rule allows healthcare providers the right to discriminate against anyone in the LGBT community or their families based on healthcare providers’ beliefs. This effectively allows any one person or an entire healthcare system to put their personal beliefs ahead of a patient’s own individual healthcare and safety needs.
After years of deliberation, the U.S. Military announced on June 30th, 2016 that it was in their best interest to recruit and retain troops regardless of their gender identity. This effectively opened the doors for prior members of the military to transition while serving and led to recruiting openly transgender individuals. The HRC website states that on July 26th, 2017, President Trump posted a series of tweets saying, “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” The tweets were condemned by more than 56 retired generals, admirals, and members of Congress. Regardless of its opposition, this led to what is called the Transgender Military Ban that went into effect on April 12, 2019. It is estimated that as many as 14,000 military personally were affected by the ban and relieved of duty.
Job discrimination for transgender individuals is legal in multiple states already. At the moment, the Supreme Court is hearing two different cases that could affect transgender and LGBT individuals right to work nationally. In question is the 1964 Civil Rights Law Title VII that outlawed discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and, notably, sex. The question for the justices is now, is how broadly to read that last term. If the Supreme Court rules that transgender people are not protected under that law it will be a crushing blow for our community.
Without access to healthcare, a military position, or a job that leaves little to hold onto, what else could the government do to further alienate the transgender population? The National Health Law Program reported that on May 22, 2019 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced an upcoming rule change that would allow HUD-funded shelters to deny transgender individuals housing based on their sex as determined by government documentation. Without their basic human needs being met, those affected will be left extremely vulnerable, and it could be a death sentence for those individuals trying to grasp at straws for survival.
When I came out to the world, I thought I was stepping into a world that was moving forward on transgender rights. I would have never dreamed I would be a writer, public speaker, or advocate. Little by little, I have been pushed into a corner. I am done being brushed aside, so here I am standing loud, proud, and visible, and I am not the only one. Our whole community and our allies are gathering, planning, educating, spreading awareness, voting, taking public office, and pushing back against transphobia and the polices being forced upon us. We will continue to push back against this or any other administration until the transgender and gender non-conforming community are granted equal rights.