Universities across the country have been trying to address gender, whether that has been through attempts to create gender-neutral housing, discussions about transmen at women’s colleges, or by ensuring students may use the bathrooms matching their gender identity without fearing consequences. Some universities are taking less accepting approaches.
There are so many important issues of equality facing the LGBTQ* community. Currently, the focus remains on the fight for marriage equality. Another important battle has been sitting in the background waiting to be pushed to the forefront: employment protections. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), only 16 states and DC have laws in place protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Another five states have protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity (“Statewide…”).
Grinnell's College, Iowa decided to propose dormitory room, bathroom, shower room or locker room without gender becoming the first of the state.
Recently, the US Department of Labor announced it would consider gender identity and pregnancy to be protected statuses. Any discrimination based on these factors would be considered sex discrimination. This change extends equal opportunity protections to all genderqueer people working for or looking to be hired by the federal government.
Every once in a while, I like to compile a list of news and articles I have come across in my research which may not have made it to become the basis for an Exploring Gender of the week. These articles can range through many sources, all revolving around some aspect of the trans* community but may also intersect with some other part of the LGBTQ* community as well. So here are the articles which have stood out over the past few weeks about a new trans* awareness campaign in DC, voter ID laws, a report on LGBTQ* characters on TV, and a follow up on health insurance for the trans* community:
During my research for this week, I found many articles relating back to recent posts, so this will be an update on many things: the trans* facilities policy at University of Pittsburgh, ENDA, how other colleges and universities are handling gender issues, trans* rights in Baltimore County, and the I AM: Trans People Speak Project.
The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index 2012 came out this week, ranking hundreds of major US companies based on a set of criteria. These criteria include an assessment of companies’ non-discrimination policies, the offering of equal partner benefits, availability of LGBT resources for employees, the provision of transgender healthcare, a public commitment to LGBT causes, and a lack of support for anti-LGBT initiatives. The scoring falls under each of these categories, amounting to a highest possible score of 100.
Australia has introduced a new gender category on their passports: X or indeterminate for transgender or intersex individuals (Bielski). Britain is also considering this proposal (Baghdjian).According to both representatives in Britain and Australia, the change is to prevent discrimination against individuals who do not fit within traditional gender boundaries.
Being trans* is not easy for many reasons. Sometimes acceptance is hard to find. There are so many questions, so many what ifs. And I battle against those every day. But the hardest thing for me personally is relationships. I have amazing friends and a great family, but sex, love, connections: those are separate beings. The fact is that label designates an existence outside of the realm of normal experience, even for those in the LGB community who also step outside of those boundaries. If a lesbian dates a transman, what does that mean for her identity? If a straight female dates a transwoman, what does that mean for her identity? Or how does any other combination of trans* person and significant other affect that partner's identity? It takes a strong person to be comfortable enough with themselves and society to date a trans* person.
Being trans* and trying to pursue any career in sports is incredibly hard. Most associations consider hormones to be performance enhancers, so when you try to transition and be an athlete, the road can be rough or even impossible. One woman at Mission College in Santa Clara is breaking those barriers.