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May 31, 2015: Getting It

June 1, 2015

This insightful New York Times editorial, which appeared earlier this month, shows that the editors get it. They get that being transgender is a medical condition. They get that lack of legal protections for trans people and laws that discriminate against them are civil rights issues. They get that, when a child is forced to live as the gender he or she does not identify with, when DMV staff members refuse to photograph MtF trans people wearing make-up, when the military does not allow openly trans people to serve their country (the list goes on), those on the receiving end of these indignities often end up homeless, unemployed and dead.

The trans community has come a long way in a fairly short time — a few years, in fact — but this community has been struggling for equal rights for decades, and the road ahead is still long and full of obstacles. I remember when Mara and I started dating 21 years ago, and she paid out of pocket for her hormones. Insurance didn’t cover her treatment, and we were afraid that her carrier would find out and cancel her policy. Today, her hormones are covered. By law, insurance companies that operate in California must also cover gender affirming surgery, but many still do not. I believe that will change eventually, but not without resistance from those companies.

Here’s an example of the long road ahead: In April, an article in the Loudoun Progress (Virginia) refuted a column published in the Purcellville Gazette and rightfully shamed the Gazette’s editor for printing it without fact-checking it. The text of the actual column follows. Its author called out a minor transperson by name (the Loudoun Progress deleted the name in its re-post) and used defamatory and false language. The author is a perfect example of someone who doesn’t get it. The column is full of false information, like conflating gender identity with sexual orientation and calling “transgenderism” a mental disorder.

He is corrected (harshly in some cases, but then again, his column is very harsh) in the comments following the piece. But then, the last few comments completely disregard the facts presented and carry on with the fear-mongering. They don’t get it, either.


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One Comment
  1. It’s both scary and exciting to be here at this particular point in time, when trans people are (finally) gaining recognition and rights! Exciting to feel that we are in a place where we can make a difference by advocating for change, scary to see the extent of prejudice that still exists…

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