LGBT community still faces immense obstacles
Within the LGBT community, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals are on our eyes. Even though society has become exceedingly tolerant and accepting to those communities compared 22 decades ago, this community faces immense obstacles to fight for their dignity and sense of being. Despite the discrimination they may enter as a community but also as individuals in everyday life they, resist and persist through teaching the world what it is like to be transgender and to educate others who may not understand. Not many understand the daily an overall life challenges that transgender and gender nonconforming individuals must struggle with their entire lives. This paper gives an overview of many of these significant challenges and to also show insight to the surrounding communities. Unfortunately, the transgender and gender non-conforming community faces and in an exceptional amount of discrimination, because in the eyes of the government and many people who do not understand this community is not seen as equal.
Presently, there are no upstanding federal Laws that directly protect the transgender and gender non-conforming individuals from public discrimination or harassment. Unfortunately, "the transgender community must rely on the sex discrimination of the 1964 Civil Rights Act" (Cheung,2019). Despite there being a lack of federal laws to protect this community, A conscious effort has been made by some state by upholding a level of state law that disapproves of gender identity discrimination. Only 11 out of 50 states "prohibit discrimination based on gender identity" (Cheung,2019).
Fortunately, the United States is lucky enough to have "some judges that view gender identity discrimination as equal to sex discrimination"(Cheung,2019). Cheung stated that some judges have ruled by discrimination based on sex change is sex discrimination". Therefore a lack of federal laws that protect the transgender and gender nonconforming individuals it safe to say that many individuals who do uphold the law attempt to treat transgender and gender nonconforming individuals equally - providing the effort to see and treat these individuals with respect and dignity.
Of course, there are those who seek to demonetize and relinquish any rights that transgender and gender non-conforming community have, even though it may be the most basic human and civil rights such as using the restroom. In Arizona during the year of 2013 Representative John Kavanaugh introduced a "no loo for you bill that would allow business owners to restrict access to gender-specific facilities based on a person's gender identity or expression" (Transgenderlawcenter.org,2019). This bill that representative John Kavanagh presented not only showed a clear outline of segregation for the transgender and gender non-conforming community. Kavanaugh's true intentions for this bill was to have suspected transgender and nonconforming individuals to present a "birth certificate that matched the gender of the restroom... alternatively, face arrest" (Transgenderlawcenter.org,2019). This also proposed that people who did not fit societies view of men and women and these stereotype of gender roles.
As of today, at federal and state levels many people of the government are trying to come up with a policy that boas well for the transgender and gender non-conforming member as well as for the rest of society. Although the fact is "transgender people have been using public bathroom... for decades now" (Transequality.org). So why are policies for transgender and gender non-conforming people being pushed for? Its mainly cause by the myths and fears of people who do not understand who transgender people are. More often than not society imposes that transgender people are a threat when they go into a restroom that is opposite of the gender they were assigned at birth. Many people of the public think that by allowing this that it would be a back door for unlawful activity. Law officials and sexual assault advocates The National Center of Transgender Equality defended the transgender and gender non-conforming individuals by saying, that this would not legalize harassment, stalking, violence or sexual assault. "Law enforcement officials and sexual assault advocates in states in cities that already have inconclusive trans policies in place have said over and over ...that these policies cause safety problems" (TransEquality.org,2019). The main fear that people have here is that someone could mimic a transgender person and use that as leverage to be able to assault women in the woman restroom and vis versa.
Furthermore, public restroom usage for transgender and gender nonperforming individuals are already unsafe and nerve-racking for the members of this community. Many transgender men and women have a fear that they will be recognized and outed as a transgender individual and will more than likely be harassed or assaulted. Lambda Legal Organization presented how transgender and gender nonconforming individuals may "hold it' due to the fact of fear of facing scrutiny or "hostile remarks" while using the restroom (Lambda Legal,2019). Many of these individuals will often search for unisex bathrooms that will keep their sense of safety in tacked.
Consequently, since unisex bathrooms are not always available to transgender and gender non-conforming people will often "hold it" until they can use a bathroom safely. Registered nurse Chaunie Brusie stated that someone who holds their pee can create a variety of problems such as most commonly known are urinary tract infection (UTI's), and can severely damage to a person's kidneys and create a weak bladder. So not only do these individuals feel unsafe and are afraid of using public restrooms they are also at high risk for UTI's because they will more than likely "hold it" than take the chances of being harassed and or assaulted.
Besides, Health care providers are behind when it comes to equal health care for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) stated, one of the reasons for the lack of knowledge and understanding for what transgender and gender non-conforming people need is due to an insufficient amount of funding caused of insignificant amounts of research that has taken place about trans related health care. The necessary medical care for transgender and gender nonconforming members is often misunderstood or only taken lightly. Lambda Legal Organization provided an insight that transgender health care has far too often been misinterpreted as "cosmetic, experimental, and even simply unnecessary."
The following is an example who is a transgender man struggling with Arizona health care policies and provider who discriminate individuals like him. Dr. Russell is a professor at The University of Arizona who experienced trans healthcare discrimination first hand. Dr. Russell explained that he has recently discovered that the university where he works does not cover "transition-related healthcare for its employee's or their dependents." Not only what his health care needs denied but also he pointed out that "Arizona's health insurance coverage categorically excludes transgender-related surgery is a violation of federal and civil rights laws and the U.S. Constitution". Due to this Dr. Russell is now taking immediate action by filing a class action lawsuit against "the state of Arizona and the Arizona Board of Regents" (Russell,2019). Dr. Russell is not only doing this for himself and his family, but he also knows that thousands of other transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are facing these same discriminatory issues. He also can relate how gender affirming surgery can be lifesaving because he struggles with body dysphoria and anxiety since his body does not align with his identity.
Every transgender person transitions differently. Medically necessarily needs to would be hormone replacement therapy, top surgery and bottom surgery for both female and male transgender individuals as well as gender nonconforming members. Many transgender and gender non-conforming people present gender dysphoria which in tales a "conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender at birth and the gender with which he/she/they may identify as" (Psychiatry.org,2019). Reasons for medically transitioning are often to align the internal gender that one may feel with their outer appearance. He also can relate how gender affirming surgery can be life-saving because he struggles with body dysphoria and anxiety since his body does not align with his identity.
Next, in importance, are the challenges that transgender and gender non-conforming individuals must face and overcome to "legally" identify as the gender they identify. On some level, most transgender and gender non-conforming individuals can relate to the fact that they have ever been questioned or harassed about the gender marker on their legal identification card and the gender they present themselves. Lambda Legal Organization presented evidence illustrated from their survey that fourteen states allow an individual to change their legal identification based on medical influences such as sex reassignment surgery or by hormone replacement therapy (HRT) while only three states allowed transgender and gender non-conforming individuals to fill out an application whether they had medical assistance or not (Lambda Legal,2019). The three states that allow individuals to change their gender identity based on internal feelings and not from medically require surgery like most states to create a safer environment for this community.
More Specifically, The National Center of Transgender Equality (NCTE) explained that "gender incongruent identification creates..." a numerous amount of societal and inner challenges for those who are "outed" by their legal identification due to the gender marker. Presenting an identification card with a gender marker that a person does not present as is more than likely to be harassed by people assuming that, the identification is a form of a fake id or other catch on the fact that the individual is transgender, and this creates an unsafe in the environment for that individual. Harassment by law enforcement is not uncommon either when presenting an ID with a gender marker that the individual does not present as. Lambda Legal explained in a statistical survey that, "forty percent who showed identification that did not match their gender presentation were harassed, while fifteen percent were asked to leave an establishment and three percent were assaulted." For a Transgender individual having an identification card showing the marker of an individual's assigned birth gender creates a safety issue for the members of this community.
Also, even though it is illegal to discriminate an individual who is applying for a job, there still are not very many federal laws or state laws that prevent employers incorporate industry is from discriminating against transgender and gender non-conforming people. This problem then leads to the challenges of holding a regular job as a transgender gender nonconforming individual. Once again Transgender and gender nonconforming people "must rely on the 1964 Civil Rights Act" (Cheung). In order to provide a barrier between them and the discrimination that they do or possibly could face. Lambda legal Organization presented, "transgender people often face humiliating treatment and unfair policies every day of the weak" at work. Far too often transgender individuals are more often ostracized by their employers and colleagues. Lambda Legal Organization also stated that this group of people continue to harass transgender and gender non-conforming individuals because they do not fit the gender stereotype and are often turned down for needing medically necessary health care.
Never the less, if a Transgender or gender nonconforming individual loses their job they are "four times more likely to be homeless and those who are not transgender or gender nonconforming" (Lambda Legal,2019). Now creating the life of this minority group that much harder to endure being able to live and survive, since they no longer have the means or necessities to survive.
Overall, living as a Transgender or gender nonconforming individual bears many challenges and obstacles that society puts in place due to the lack of understanding acceptance and tolerance. Despite the loads of discrimination that lies present, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals along with their allies and supporters fight every day to just maintain the same basic and civil rights everyone else has.