Transgender people simply have a different gender identity than that they were assigned at birth. Although 700 thousand Americans are Transgender, around 40% of them have attempted suicide and 75% reported harassment in grades K through 12. (Last week Tonight: Transgender Rights)Transgenders are largely harassed and made to feel inferior because the Government does not respect their life decisions, and neither does it respect their rights. When the Government does not respect their rights, kids at school as well as coworkers do not feel the need to respect their rights. Transgenders are often unable to enlist in the army, are occasionally prevented from using the restroom their gender identity matches, and fired from their jobs after getting married, or making people aware they are Transgender.
Transgenders today are facing many similar struggles to the African Americans during both The Civil Rights Movement and Reconstruction. Transgenders today, like African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement and Reconstruction, face an extreme wage gap. "Fifteen percent of transgender people report making less than $10,000 per year, a rate of poverty that is nearly four times that of the general population." (The Gay and Transgender Wage Gap). African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement faced a similar obstacle, making on average only 57% a week of what a white man would make. (Distribution of Economic Well-Being). Transgenders also face a similar challenge when it comes to restrooms. Transgenders today are forced into restrooms that do not match their gender identity, a recent bill in North Carolina banned Transgenders "from using bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity in government buildings and schools." (Federal law dooms transgender bathroom bans: Column). This often results in Transgender student being mocked and harassed. African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement where also forced into restrooms separating them from the general population, resulting in mockery and harassment.
Transgenders are also in many very different situations than African Americans during The Civil Rights Movement and Reconstruction. Unlike African Americans during The Civil Rights Movement, Transgenders are often not immediately identifiable, and their rights are not denied because of a physical difference between them and others, but rather a phycological one. Being Transgender is have a different gender identity than that you where assigned at birth, a gender identity is, "a person's internal sense of being male, female, some combination of male and female, or neither male nor female." (Webster). Which makes it harder for people to discriminate against them, as well as deny them their rights. But this is also why their rights are denied; Its difficult for many people to understand how a man can feel like a woman, or how a woman can feel like a man. This makes people believe this is not a real issue, or that being Transgender is a decision. Transgenders are denied rights because they are different in a phycological way, unlike African Americans during Reconstruction, and they are denied rights because people have trouble recognizing their differences. Transgenders are also different from African Americans during Reconstruction because while Transgenders can hide being Transgender, African Americans could not. African Americans could not pretend to be of a different ethnicity, so they where forced to make a stand. Transgenders can hide being Transgender, and are not forced to stand up for themselves and their rights. Instead of letting the world know they are Transgender, many choose to hide it and not be bullied or picked on. This harms major progress towards rights for Transgenders because many do not speak up and demand the rights they deserve.
We, as a nation, need to create laws ensuring that Transgenders are given the rights they deserve, and by doing so we will create a community where Transgenders do not feel the need to hide who they are. Do not commit suicide at rates around 40%. Are not harassed through middle school. Do not feel inferior to their piers. Are able to enlist in the army. Are never prevented from using the restrooms their gender identity matches. And are never fired for being Transgender. This is all possible if we help educate people on what being Transgender really means and really is, not discriminate or harass Transgenders, and help by donating to organizations like the Atticus Circle, the Transgender Law Center, and the Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER).
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