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Americans Get Trans Identity?

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No Time for Complacency on Transgender Protections

Gauging support for trans rights has been very difficult given how limited national data currently is. Therefore these findings, while limited as all such studies of this nature are, are a welcome indicator of a strong level of support.

In case the surveys reported here might breed complacency regarding trans issues — that a reader might think that broad and swift progress on trans rights must be within immediate reach and therefore trans rights issues should not be a matter for particular concern —  it is worth referring to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (.pdf), a landmark release by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

The 2009 survey found that among a national sample of 6, 450 trans respondents a pervasive level of discrimination existed; that the sample was nearly four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000/year compared to the general population; and that a staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population, with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias (55%), were harassed/bullied in school (51%), had low household income, or were the victim of physical assault (61%) or sexual assault (64%).

Yet, despite these devastating issues, affirmation of trans rights remains difficult at the state and federal level.

New York, for instance, has this year been the subject of much praise for its legalization of marriage equality, yet legislation enshrining trans-inclusive employment protections still has not passed in the state despite a lengthy battle, and this is the case in most other states including Massachusetts which has long been thought of as a bastion of LGBT rights but where a trans equal rights bill is still the subject of much friction. The same can be said for legislation at the federal level. A trans-inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) languishes in Congress even after more than a decade of legislative maneuvering.

So while the high levels of support documented in the August and September Religion and Politics Tracking Surveys are of course welcome, unless that public support translates to meaningful action it means little, and at the moment there seems a disconnect between the opinions shown in these surveys and actual political will that, as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s National Transgender Discrimination Survey suggests, is costing livelihoods and even lives.

Related Reading:

Gov. Official Amanda Simpson — LGBT History Month Day 27

Trans Australians Win New Legal Recognition

Fed Prisons Change ‘Freeze Frame’ Trans Medical Policy

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10:19AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:10AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

its not what you or I think. its what the particular human feels about him/her self. its there body and know whats best .

11:04AM PST on Nov 19, 2011

Maybe transgender people will have better luck than gays.

1:55PM PST on Nov 18, 2011

@David J., I would be interested in hearing some details about what you would consider to be "compassionate care" for transgendered folks, not all of whom seek surgery (and none of whom seek "mutilation" as you put it).

11:50AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Haven't we put our trans people through enough pain???

-Stop the hurt NOW!

9:59AM PST on Nov 18, 2011


8:09AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

I look forward to the day when humanity has matured to the point that who is @#$!ing who with what does not matter so long as it's consensual.

And you know very well that that is what this boils down too.

If not for that, no one would care, discrimination would not exist, and we'd likely have "interchangeable parts" at WalMart already.

8:32PM PST on Nov 17, 2011

Transgender people don't "think" or "feel" they are the other sex; they KNOW they are in the wrong body. It is agonizing for them and none of them would wish for it. Their childhood's are miserable, and adulthood can be also. We need to support them. If you are comfortable in your gender, look down and imagine you are permanently in the other gender's body.

6:22PM PST on Nov 17, 2011

I count my blessings to be in the majority among males along each dimension: male genetics, male identity, female preference, traditional male appearance. My life is hard enough with Asperger.

6:19PM PST on Nov 17, 2011

1. Sure. There is biological sex, male, female, trisomy, mosiac chimeras (rare).

2. There is sexual identity (male, female)

3. There is sexual preference (male and/or female)

4. There is genital appearance (male, female, intersex)

All are along independent dimensions.

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