“Traditionally, boys who play with dolls were scolded, stripped of their dolls and handed some trucks, their parents terrified of their son showing signs of femininity. Now, as transgender identities become more visible, select parents respond to their sons playing with dolls in a different way, assuming that their child's interest in traditionally feminine toys makes them transgender or qualifies them as a girl trapped in a boy's body. So-called progressive individuals are jumping on the "transgender bandwagon," without realizing that their tolerance (and even support) of what they perceive as "transgender" might actually be a destructive reinforcement of an arbitrary gender binary.”
Earlier this month, the Pentagon quietly made history when it acknowledged a transgender veteran’s changed gender marker and updated records appropriately.
This is thought to be the first time the Department of Defense has recognized a gender transition for anyone affiliated with the armed forces, and it’s especially a big deal because trans people still cannot serve openly, even after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
In a short letter dated May 2, a Navy official told Autumn Sandeen, a veteran and transgender activist: “Per your request the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) has been updated to show your gender as female effective April 12, 2013.”
Sandeen’s military identification card now reflects the change, a move called “quite significant” by the head of OutServe-SLDN, a national organization for LGBT service members and veterans and their families.
“The fact that a process exists [to change the gender listed] indicates that there are people in the Department of Defense who are aware of the needs of transgender retirees and who are working to see those needs met. And, in that sense, the significance of this symbolic act for our broader work and for our goal of open service becomes I think a little bit more apparent,” OutServe-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson told BuzzFeed.
Holy cow, this is a huge deal. Major congratulations to Ms. Sandeen for starting what will hopefully become a major change in how the Department of Defense treats its transgender veterans and service members. There’s no excuse for the kind of discrimination that has been perpetuated for so long.
The California Assembly passed two bills on Thursday that will hopefully help ensure equality for trans people. The bills will now move on for consideration in the Senate.
One bill prohibits discrimination against trans students in public schools, including allowing trans students to participate in “sex-segregated school programs” like team sports and allowing students to use the bathrooms of their choice. The other bill makes it easier for trans people to change gender markers on their birth certificates.
The Sacramento Bee notes that some school districts in the state currently allow transgender students to use facilities for the gender they identify with, but the bill would ensure equality throughout the entire state. ”No student can learn if they have to hide who they are at school or if they are singled out for unequal treatment,” Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, the bill’s sponsor, told the Bee.
The Assembly also passed a bill that would make it easier for transgender people to amend their birth certificate with an affidavit from a physician and without a court order. “[The bill] provides transgender people with a simple, inexpensive and private process for changing their names and documents to be consistent with their gender identity,” Assemblymember Toni Atkins, co-sponsor of the bill, said.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is expected to sign into law a bill that would add gender identity and expression as protected classes under the state’s hate crimes law.
The state assembly passed the legislation 30-11 on Tuesday, and the senate passed it nearly unanimously last month.
“This does not afford victims special rights,” openly gay Assemblyman Andrew Martin said Tuesday according to the Associated Press. ”This is a statement of what our society is, and that we will not tolerate the systematic targeting of individuals who are historically disadvantaged groups.”
People who commit hate crimes would be subject to penalties for the actual crime committed, in addition to motivation based on their bias, according to the article.