Transgender Discrimination And The Law
Transgender Discrimination And The Law
Calpernia Addams (Transgender Activist, Actress) gives expert video advice on: Why is there so much hate directed at transgender people?; What would you say to someone who believes transgender people are freaks?; Why is it hard for a transgender person to use a public restroom? and more...
Why is there so much hate directed at transgender people?
It is hard for me to understand really why there is so much hate directed at transgender people. I think people one, do not understand to us. They look at us and they are like why would you ever want to do that? How could anyone not want to be a man? Being a man is the best thing in the world? Or how could a woman do that to herself? Why would she not want to be beautiful woman? Why would she want to grow a beard and muscles and things like that? People do not understand. Where there is ignorance, hate often follows. Because it is easy. Also I think there is a lot of fear. People are afraid what does it mean about me if I am attracted to this woman who I just found out is trans. Guys does that make me gay? When you start questioning their sexual identity or when they question their sexual identity, they go into terror mode and panic. They sometimes lash out with hate. None of those are appropriate reactions I think. And I think human beings need to step up to the plate and figure out that we are all human and suck it up and deal with it, because we are here, and we are cool, and you need to stop the hate.
What would you say to someone who believes transgender people are freaks?
Well, if someone were to say to me, "Transgender people are freaks!", that's one of a million kind of mean things that people say to us all the time, you know? Anybody from family to friends to strangers and in a larger sense you just have to learn to throw your shoulders back, head up, and just, you know, walk on because it's hard to change peoples minds if they're that ignorant, but if you really do want to engage them you can just say "You know that's a hurtful term, I'm a person, I'm a human being, I love, I live, I want to be happy and you're tearing me down and I don't know why you're doing that!". I don't know, it's a hard answer because my response is usually to exhibit some strength and to be a little in your face, but you have to pick your battles, I think.
Why is it hard for a transgender person to use a public restroom?
It is sometimes hard for a trans person to use a public restroom because transitioning just in a physical sense is difficult. Being able to pass in society to blend in as your chosen gender is hard and it is harder for some than it is for others. And if people can look at you and still tell that you were born one sex or gender, and you are transitioning to another, all that hatred and misunderstanding and hatred comes to the forefront. And in the issue of a bathroom, that is considered a very private space. It is considered a very gender divided space and it always has been. So it really pushes people's buttons and they are afraid that a transgender person coming in is going to look at them, or come on to them. When really all we are trying to do is use the bathroom. It is an issue that is ongoing, but hopefully as people get more use to us it will be less of an issue.
Are there laws that protect transgender people against discrimination?
Right now there are twenty states that include protections for people sexuality in their, sort of, state level legal situation. And eleven of those also protect gender identities. So, eleven out of fifty, 22 percent of the states do include some protection. And that protection is often at the whim or mercy of whatever judge is preceding over the case, even in those rare instances. So, it can be really hard to get basic human justice for a Trans person; but, slowly but surely we are, getting a little bit more human justice for ourselves.
Does the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) protect transgender people?
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act or ENDA, as the language is right now does not protect transgender people. It has been quite a fight even in the Gay community a lot of gay people have been fearful that including transgender protections in ENDA will make it impassable in terms of people are barely tolerating gay people and transgender people are just so freaky that that would push it over the limit and they would not pass the bill. So that has become heavily debated right now and ENDA has not been completely ratified or passed yet it still has another hurdle to go through. The existing language has had transgender protections removed right now and that is unfortunate but I'm just waiting to see how it all plays out.
Can a transgender person be fired from their job?
As things stand right now, a transgender can be fired from their job because they're transgender, and there are not any specific legal protections in place on a national level. You can bring up a legal case against those firings, and that has been done here and there, but on a national level there just aren't protections codified for that, so we're pretty vulnerable right now.
Can transgender people get married?
Transgender people can get married right now to people who are of the opposite sex of their legal sex. So, for example, I am legally female so I can legally marry a male right now but I cannot legally marry a female. If I had transitioned and looked and was exactly like I look right now but I had never changed my legal paperwork, then I would legally be male on paper so I could legally marry a female but I could not legally marry a male.