The Next Big Civil Rights Battle

Three days ago the United States Supreme Court handed down a ruling affirming that a person’s right to marry whomever they love is a right protected by Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution which states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Starting with the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969, when I was just seven months old, until this week’s landmark decision by the Supreme Court, the battle for equality has been a slow steady march nearly five decades in the making. This fight has been going on for literally my entire life, yet it is something that deep down inside I thought I would never live to see.

While this is a huge victory for the LGBT community, the “T” part of the community continues to be ostracized and marginalized. Celebrities like Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, and Caitlyn Jenner are starting to draw attention to the struggle of transgender people, but it is not enough. The statistics are alarming… one survey conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law reported that 41% of transgender people have reported attempting suicide at some point in their lives.

Forty-one percent.

As alarming as that number is, I am almost certain that the actual rate is much, much higher. I am a transgender woman, and conversations I have had with other transgender people indicate that up to 80% had attempted suicide. Granted, I have an extremely small sample size and my evidence is purely anecdotal, but it is a major indicator that things are NOT ok in the transgender community. Governments are trying to pass laws that prohibit transgender people from doing simple everyday things like using a restroom.

John Oliver commented on the restroom situation and many other things that effect transgender people on his show Last Week Tonight. It is the most logical, well reasoned, discussion from a Cis person (the Latin prefix Cis- on the same side is the opposite of trans- on the other side) I have ever seen.

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2 comments

  1. ok, i wish so many more people were educated about this sort of thing. it would make our lives so much easier.

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