Transgender Rights By: Neve Tribe

In the past few years, bathroom access for transgender people has become a controversial topic among citizens, politicians, and even our President. Many citizens do not believe in transgender rights which would allow transgender people to use the bathroom they feel most comfortable. This is because they may want to use the bathroom that is different from their birth gender. With transgender citizens not having a choice it goes against America and what the Americans believe in such as the Declaration of Independence which states we have certain unalienable rights such as Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness and the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, “ Forcing transgender people to use private bathrooms when other people do not have to is isolating and reinforces the idea that transgender people are somehow harmful and should be kept separate from everybody else.” ( National Center for Transgender Equality) Transgender people feel ashamed and uncomfortable when they are told which bathrooms they can use and which ones not to use. Also, the National center argues that “Like all nondiscrimination protections, trans-inclusive policies don’t require anyone to change their religious beliefs: they simply ensure that transgender people can live, work, study and participate in public life according to their identities.” (National Center for Transgender Equality) Clearly, transgender people do not want to cause any issues they just want be treated equally and respectfully. Many transgender people feel as though their civil rights are being violated under the constitution and that something needs to happen so that they can live their life like a normal citizen.

Discrimination against certain groups has been around for many years including back in 1865 when the Jim Crow Laws were established which enforced racial segregation. These laws affected the everyday lives of both African Americans as well as Whites segregating schools, parks, restrooms, restaurants, busses, trains, etc. For Instance, “ In theory, Blacks received ‘Separate but Equal’ treatment under the law - In actuality, public facilities for African Americans were nearly always inferior to those for Whites, when they existed at all.”(pbs.org.) In other words, African Americans were given facilities for their race, however these facilities were unsatisfactory compared to the Whites. Furthermore, “ Whites only ‘colored’ signs were constant reminders of the enforced racial order.”( pbs.org) Clearly, African Americans felt humiliated and unequal under these orders, being told to use different facilities than other races such as Whites. As African Americans felt with the Jim Crow Laws, people that are Transgender feel very similar because they have orders to use certain bathrooms and they feel uncomfortable and ashamed not being able to have the choice.

Transgender rights and Black Segregation are very similar but the are also very different. Black Segregation laws are very different to Transgender laws. The Jim Crow Laws are a series of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. These continued until 1965. These laws were important at the time , “ by the following beliefs or rationalizations: whites were superior to blacks in all important ways, including but not limited to intelligence, morality, and civilized behavior; sexual relations between blacks and whites would produce a mongrel race which would destroy America; treating blacks as equals would encourage interracial sexual unions; any activity which suggested social equality encouraged interracial sexual relations; if necessary, violence must be used to keep blacks at the bottom of the racial hierarchy.” ( Ferris.edu) Unlike these laws, Transgender citizens have some laws in different states. On of the most controversial laws is the bathroom bill. The bathroom bill claims that it would require people to use the facilities that correspond to their sex assigned at birth. Furthermore, “Between 2013 and 2016, bathroom bills or similar legislation were considered in more than two dozen states. Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin all considered bathroom bills last year. Still, North Carolina remains the only state that has enacted such a law.” ( newsweek) Although many of these states have never made such laws there has been much controversy surrounding the issue. These laws are very different because the Jim Crow Laws made blacks a “second caste” while these upcoming laws are prohibiting transgender citizens from using the bathroom they feel most comfortable in.

Although Transgender rights are still here today, there are certain things that citizens can do to improve the equal treatment that the Transgender society should experience. The most obvious way to help would be to protest. Protesting is a way to get your views out there with others while protesting about something you believe on, it is mostly equal rights. Some of the most recent protests for transgender rights have been in the women's march and also the LGBT protests. One of the most recent protests was to get rid of new federal protections made by Donald Trump, “Hundreds are expected in the Boystown neighborhood for a transgender rights demonstration. Advocates are angry about the Trump administration’s decision to change federal protections for trans students regarding bathroom use. States and possibly individual school districts will now have the power to decide what bathroom students can use.” ( Chicago cbslocal.com). There are also many organizations that take donations and citizens can go and help out their cause. One of the organizations would be the National Center for Transgender Equality. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a nonprofit social equality organization, founded in 2003 by a transgender activist. There are also other ways to help out such as donating. Donations are done at charities such as the LGBT charity in Los Angeles. This Charity started in 1969 and works to care for and celebrate LGBT citizens in society today. Today there are 600 employees working there. The LGBT center’s main goal would be to, “ We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world, a world in which LGBT people can be healthy, equal, and complete members of society.” This is a great message and is what protesters and donations can help to achieve. Today there are many ways to get involved and help out with your Transgender citizens to give them equal rights and to have an ordinary, equal, caring life.

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Created with images by krytofr - "IMG_7424" • torbakhopper - "a bit of controversy surrounding the transgender flag: san francisco (2012)"

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