Natalie Turgeman, Brandi Chang, Sonja Angst
Status of transgender people in the U.S.
Someone who is transgender identifies as a gender other than the one they were born with. Usually, people hear, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” because deciding gender or sex is based on anatomy. Even though people have misconceptions that the transgender community is based on surgery, sexual orientation, or the way they dress; in reality, it is all about how someone feels on the inside. According to webmd.com, “The Williams Institute says there are nearly 700,000 people living publicly as transgender in the U.S. Each one is unique, and their journeys are personal.” Some people identify as the opposite sex, whereas others may feel that they signify both or neither.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the issues that transgender people face within society include severe discrimination, stigma, and systematic inequality. Because of discrimination, the transgender community faces challenges such as lack of legal protection, poverty, harassment, barriers to healthcare, and lack of identity documents. The Human Rights Campaign states that “only 18 states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment and housing discrimination based on gender identity” and 15% of the transgender community are in severe poverty. 34% of them are Black and 28% of them are Latina/o. In addition, the lack of accurate identification documents means a limit to travel, education, and access to many services that are essential for people to function in society.
Something that is crucial for the transgender community to thrive and gain more support is visibility, meaning more positive images need to be put out into the media and society. Even with this type of positive exposure of the transgender community, it isn’t enough for more change to be made to help more people accept them as equals. To support each other and the community in general, people have created various groups within their communities that transgender people can join for support, social needs as well as to help out other people in the LGBTQQ community. Groups such as The Human Rights Campaign, TransGender San Francisco, The SF LGBT Center and so on all strive to be there for transgender people in order to provide them places where they can be accepted and continue to strive for change.