Friday, December 21, 2012

The Cutting Edge December 21, 2012

THE CUTTING EDGE-December, 21, 2012

By Barbara F. Anderson, Ph, D., LCSW

The Transgender Law Center’s Legal Director was featured on ABC’s public affairs show,
"Beyond the Headlines,” on Nov. 18, 2012.  The focus of the show was the “widespread discrimination faced by transgender people,”  especially, employment and health challenges.  Statistics were cited indicating that trans people face unemployment at twice the national rate.  Also mentioned was San Francisco’s Health Commission which voted to establish a program that includes SRS as part of the City’s universal health care plan, making San Francisco the first city in the US to approve such a measure.

Along the same lines, the ACLU issued a paper, Discrimination Against Transgender People, (undated) but viewed on Dec. 10, 2012.  It speaks of the organization’s  commitment to trans people who meet “a wide variety of discriminatory barriers to full equality.  They sometimes face difficulties meeting their basic needs (getting a job, housing, or health care) or in having their gender identity respected (like in the simple act of going to a public restroom).”  The article goes on to note that trans people “face a range of legal issues that LGB people rarely do: identity documents not reflective of one’s gender, sex-segregated public restrooms and other facilities, dress codes that perpetuate traditional gender norms, and barriers to access to appropriate health care.”  The ACLU believes that “the struggles against anti-LGB and  anti-transgender discrimination are best waged collaboratively.  Much of the discrimination faced by transgender people comes from the same place as does anti-gay discrimination:  LGBT people challenge society’s norms on how men and women ‘should’ act (in their gender expression and in the relationships they form).  Truly eliminating LGBT discrimination depends on eradicating gender stereotypes, and fighting gender identity discrimination does that directly.”

 “Gabrielle Ludwig, Transgender Basketball Player, Makes Championship Game Debut” is the headline in the online, HuffPost Gay Voices article, Dec. 2012. Fifty year old, m-t-f Ludwig, is a twice divorced mother of 3 who made news after playing on a California junior college basketball team.  She last played college basketball in 1980, more that 20 years before she transitioned.  “Though decades older than some of her teammates (and at 6ft 8in, substantially taller),” she was praised by her coach as being “the most dangerous player in the state.”   Her statement to USA Today follows:  “If they see me as a normal person and we are not the bogeyman and love life and raise kids just like you, maybe some of this mystery of who these people are will be taken away and there can be more blending into society.  People are afraid of what they don’t know.  I am willing to put myself out there.  It was not like that before.  It was just about playing basketball.  It’s about more because I see an injustice.”