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Trans Girl Writes to Obama: You Forgot Me

Trans Girl Writes to Obama: You Forgot Me

Monday’s presidential inauguration was a Good Gay Day. With mentions of Stonewall and gay and lesbian “brothers and sisters” Obama thrilled many in the LGBT community. But not all. There was a conspicuous absence of the “T,” and one little girl really noticed.

Eleven-year-old Sadie Croft is making headlines all over the world due to her letter to President Obama about his omission of a specific name-check for trans Americans.

Said Sadie in the letter (h/t to TransGriot which has a picture of the actual letter itself):

The world would be a better place if everyone had the right to be themselves, including people who have a creative gender identity and expression. Transgender people are not allowed the freedom to do things everyone else does, like go to the doctor, go to school, get a job, and even make friends.

Transgender kids like me are not allowed to go to most schools because the teachers think we are different from everyone else. The schools get afraid of how they will talk with the other kids’ parents, and transgender kids are kept secret or told not to come there anymore. Kids are told not to be friends with transgender kids, which makes us very lonely and sad.

When they grow up, transgender adults have a hard time getting a job because the boss thinks the customers will be scared away. Doctors are afraid of treating transgender patients because they don’t know how to take care of them, and some doctors don’t really want to help them. Transgender patients like me travel to other states to see a good doctor.

It would be a better world if everyone knew that transgender people have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. We like to make friends and want to go to school. Transgender people want to get good jobs and go to doctors like they are exactly the same. It really isn’t that hard to like transgender people because we are like everyone else.

Sadie socially transitioned in kindergarten and has now left behind home schooling to attend public school. Sadie’s mother told the Huffington Post that while Sadie has indeed faced discrimination and prejudice in her life, she has not let it affect her. Indeed, her mother talks about how she must be on her guard because Sadie will strike up a conversation with everyone, often opening with the line “Hi, I’m Sadie, my favorite color is pink, I’m vegan, and I’m transgender. Who are you?”

Sadie’s extraordinary letter speaks in succinct terms of the state of transgender rights in the US. What’s more, it suggests an issue that is fundamentally a problem in the wider public’s understanding of trans rights: the errant notion that mentioning the gay community covers the trans bracket. It does not. Sexual orientation has, in this sense, nothing to do with gender identity and though the communities are wrapped in the LGBT package, it is not to suggest that catering for one letter automatically helps the other. Where gay rights and transgender rights are concerned there is a divergence that cannot be addressed without careful attention.

And it seems the Obama administration has a fundamental issue to deal with when it comes to transgender rights. The administration has so far declined to issue an executive order that would prevent federal workers from being discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation and, crucially, gender identity. The precedent is there, and though it certainly would not replace legislative action it would be a tap on the shoulder for state administrations to wake up and see the facts of the discrimination perpetrated against trans people and actually do something about it. But the administration says no. Legislative action should be the focus.

The hard truth is this: House Speaker Boehner has near amnesia as to his previous Job Creation mantra, and he is on record as stating that he wasn’t even aware of the Employment Non Discrimination Act, the legislative remedy that would at last enshrine job protections in federal law for LGBT people. House Republicans are incredibly unlikely to bring the bill to the floor as they have more important things to do: like taking America to the edge of yet another fiscal crisis and trying to repeal Obamacare. Despite overwhelming bipartisan support among the public, ENDA isn’t likely to get the attention it deserves any time soon.

An executive order is a short term, imperfect fix, but it is within easy reach. And yet the administration still demurs.

We might sit here and say Obama doesn’t have time to name check everyone among the Alphabet Soup, as it is sometimes called, and certainly Monday’s inauguration was a day for rhetoric, a day to set out a vision.

Yet in omitting trans people Obama raised doubts whether his administration can truly see the trans community and recognize their plight. The time for words, then, is past. The time for meaningful action is here. Obama must sign the executive order or throw his presidential weight behind ENDA and have it become law. Better yet, he must sign the order and advocate for ENDA with the presidential deportment that won a second term.

Any less and Sadie and millions of children like her will go on believing that they are not worthy of a mention.

 

Related Reading:

How Voter ID Laws Impact Transgender People

Pakistan Transgender Leader Runs for Election

Oklahoma Judge: Being Transgender Is ‘Fraudulent’

 

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Image credit: Thinkstock.

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125 comments

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1:49PM PDT on May 7, 2013

"normal" is not real. equal rights are still far from a reality, but we ARE making progress. Props to this child, and the thousands like her.

8:45PM PST on Jan 30, 2013

Teddy H. I'm a liberal and I home schooled my daughter. She tested end of second grade at the end of first grade by the way.

My niece and nephew are home schooled for medical reasons.

Yes every T girl and boy I've ever met knew by age 4 at the latest they gender they were born with was wrong. Being intersex can be even worse.

Are you complaining because she was home schooled or are the only people who should home school conservative.

Vegan is another choice and many children choose not to eat meat. What exactly are you objecting to? or are you just trolling along?

4:57PM PST on Jan 30, 2013

Trans folk just know they are that way.

3:53PM PST on Jan 30, 2013

So the girl knew she was transgender long before kindergarten?. So she had to transition into society at age 5? and a vegan? Is it possible her parents are liberal coco-nuts? Why is it so evil for conservatives to home school. But not one liberal here mentioned it, when it concerned a trangender kindergartner?
Its seems likely that someone else wrote this letter. I say that because she is complaining about not allowing transg. to go to school, but she obviously did. Or maybe her ability to read and write were born into her too? Transgenders cannot go to the doctor? I am starting to understand why liberals are so confused. They dont seem to have a firm grasp on reality.
I got to get one of those bumper stickers "liberal is a mental disorder"

11:05PM PST on Jan 29, 2013

CONT..... besides the movie subs about aliens,we would start fresh not knowing anything,with transgender people our education never mentioned this,so to me a person has 2 arms,legs,a face and a man is aman etc....now you cant really know,.......its so very unclear,and these people hide who they really are [understandable] so bottem line there is no up nor down anymore......i have a hard time grasping this...sorry.

11:02PM PST on Jan 29, 2013

@ Sarah F.......This subject is hugh and its complicated and its going to take a great deal of time to straighten it out so others,like me,can actually understand what the hell is going on here.

Being honest,as a guy,and perhaps abit hardheaded most of the time,if a woman came to me and said she was a guy it just would not register,how can something like this happen,and saying there are lots of transgender folks out there,like millions and millions it aint rare than either.................................which would than put a very dark shadow over all this bible and God stuff out there,because this subject matter is going to test a lot of waters out there.

So this cant be it,there must be other forms of people out there then,they as well living in the shadows.And thats quite ok with me,its not that these other people may be out there,its that if the gov. knows about this kinda stuff why not just come out and say it.....hell there could be top scientists stating why this happens,and school kids would learn at a young age and those generations would better grow to understand much better these different people from themselves.

And i did go to wiki and typed in transgender,and if you click on the other sub headings than understanding all the diff types of transgenders is very complicated,its got to be at least a college level subject.Some people find this very easy to grasp,me i would be able to except aliens without conditions because most likely besides the movie subs

9:09PM PST on Jan 29, 2013

I'm amazed that people still don't understand the difference between 'trans' and 'sexuality'. They're two different issues. Transgender people are simply people with a brain that's biologically one gender and a body that is biologically the opposite. They could very well be 'straight', according to their brain, and so whether they're gay, bi, lesbian or straight is irrelevant... even more so with a child year old who hasn't yet figured out their own sexuality!

But yes. An eleven year old on the cusp of puberty can usually tell you what gender they are inside. It's not a 'fashion statement' or a 'trend'. Please, people who assume this is what transgender means, do a little more research first. No wonder why kids who are trans feel so lonely, isolated and misunderstood.

4:10PM PST on Jan 29, 2013

For those of you that want to equate gender identity with sexual orientation, they are separate entities. In the human condition, there is no black and white. We all a multitude of shades of gray between the "black" and "white" that we would like to believe in.

Fortunately, we no longer live in the dark ages. We are learning more each day about the human condition. Today, young people who find themselves born into the wrong body, are able to get help and become active members of our society.

7:10PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

Erica, the problem with normal is its taught by ones parents,then continues in school,even continues in relationships [yes it is very grounded in those] and certainly is stated at a job site.We may oppose normal but we all in some degree partake in the knowledge of what is and isn't normal and to some degree accept it.

If a person were to call up a cab and the cab person pulled up without any pants on,without even being there i'd say at least 50% of the people likely wouldn't get in that cab.Now this cab person could have a totally clean driving record and be a overall good person but they just dont like wearing pants,which is ok,i guess,but it certainly aint normal. And although the word normal might not be what others are trying to get to,they would like to blend in with others without having to pretend to be somebody diff. just so they can fit in,and that to me is a form of normal.

It would be much easier to know gay and trans gender folks if there were more of them out in the open,and that might make them easier to understand,in a sense they would be treated normal,well after awhile anyways.And i guess much like the gay movement,so shall trans gender people slowly climb their way to a more open life with the people around them.So we will likely see trans gender people on tv shows/movie/and slowly larger famous people will come out.

6:09PM PST on Jan 28, 2013

There are so many kind of sexual orientations that the president cannot know or remember all.

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