The struggle to gain acceptance and ultimately equality for transgender people still has a long way to go. There are still many battles to be fought and rights to be won before we can truly claim that we have been successful with our efforts. Some countries are doing much better than others but for the purpose of this article we will look primarily at the United States. We have graded below some of the key battles we are still fighting on the path to full acceptance and equality.
Currently only 19 States provide employment protection to transgender individuals. This means that in 31 states it is legal for an employer to fire you for being transgender. This is absolutely unacceptable and needs to be one of the major focal points going forward. Federal Legislation is most likely the only way we will rectify this issue anytime soon.
Some insurance companies are beginning to recognize and offer funding for Sexual Confirmation Surgery. Obama Care may also offer a glimmer of hope for transgender people. However, currently there are many people without the right insurance or denied any chance of getting insurance to help them with transition costs. In some cases, a transgender person can have all the approvals and the insurance company on board, but lack the funds to pay up front as most insurance companies reimburse after the fact.
Thanks to Laverne Cox , Caitlyn Jenner, and the insurgence of transgender themed movies and television programs, transgender visibility is at an all time high. We have the public eye and it is mostly being presented in a positive light. We are doing better than could be expected in this category and the only danger is that we could slip back if the public loses interest.
Bathroom Bills are still a hot topic in the news as some of the politically right continues to introduce them. So far, they make a splashy headline and then luckily get voted down in congress. These bills are an attack on transgender people and quite possibly a ploy by the extreme right to keep the public focused away from many of the other issues. We have been winning these battles state by state and school by school.
Too many transgender people are still dying at their own hands. Suicide is never the answer and we need to ensure the support and understanding is available. We have made one stride forward with a transgender help line. The Transgender Lifeline is available currently in both the United States and Canada. I have included the contact number for the Trans Lifeline below.
We are still being killed and it is dangerous to be openly transgender in many cities in America. The murders are unacceptable hate crimes and in some cases such as the recent murder in Fresno, we saw a few bystanders let the transgender woman bleed out without calling for help. They could have saved her and as far as I am concerned are just as guilty for her death. We really have a long way to go in this department. With more public awareness and a growing consciousness of transgender acceptance I can only hope it will help to curb the violence against transgender people, especially transgender women of color who are significantly more likely to be the victim of violence than any other sub group of the transgender community.
As you can see, we still have a lot of work to do and I am hoping very much to see these scores improve for each of the above categories. I think we are on the right path to make that happen and I will look forward to revisiting this article with a follow-up next year to see if that is indeed the case. As an optimist, I will predict that we will see some improvement.
If you are transgender and are struggling with issues of depression or suicidal thoughts, there is immediate help available via the Trans Lifeline. I have included the numbers below for the United States and Canada.
US: (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366