Seeing the Rights of the Transgender Community

June is Pride Month. As the Democrats retake office, many hope to see advances and support for the LGBTQ+ community. Though there have been setbacks, State and House officials have been more publicly open surrounding the community’s rights this year. 

“To all the transgender Americans watching at home, especially the young people who are so brave, I want you to know that your president has your back,” President Biden stated in an address to a joint session of Congress on Apr. 29. 

Transgender Visibility Day was on Mar. 31, and the Biden administration has made progress to ensure that there is a push for protecting and respecting the community’s rights. 

On May 10, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) released the following statement:

“The Office for Civil Rights will interpret and enforce Section 1557 and Title IX’s prohibitions on discrimination based on sex to include: (1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in covered health programs or activities.”

“It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including LGBTQ people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.” as stated by HHS Secretary Xavier Barreca. 

Cases can now be investigated again in which individuals have been discriminated against due to sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar of LA Times described it as an act by the Biden administration to “strengthen and protect the rights of gay and transgender people across society, in such areas as military service, housing, and employment opportunities.” 

Alonzo Zaldivar’s article posted on Monday, “Biden Administration Restores Healthcare Protections for Transgender People,” refers back to when the Trump administration had tried to block protection against transgender people in health care, military aid programs, and homeless housing. 

The Trump administration tried to issue specific rules that “narrowly defined “sex” as biological gender,” Trump submitted a policy (which has now been withdrawn) that would have allowed taxpayer-funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people. 

As Alonzo-Zaldiva put it, “(Biden) officials (will) unwind the actions taken in the Trump years.”

On Mar. 23, 2016, North Carolina signed House Bill 2, stating transgender people are banned from using public restrooms with the gender they identify with. The bill came to a compromise the following year, but it’s just the beginning. 

A video went viral back in Mar. 3 of a Missouri citizen, Brandon Boulware, speaking on behalf of his transgender daughter and the rights she deserves as a human being. Boulware was present at a hearing surrounding whether or not to ban transgender students from participating in girl’s sports. 

“I had a child who did not smile, “Boulware stated in front of Missouri Lawmakers, expressing the pain his daughter went through when having to be someone she wasn’t.

Boulware’s daughter was compromising her identity to be treated like any other kid, “I was teaching her to deny who she is.” Boulware stated that wearing boy’s clothes was the only way she was allowed to interact with other kids. 

“Let them have their childhoods. Let them be who they are.” 

Boulware admits that while trying to protect his daughter and family, he was also trying to protect himself from dealing with others’ judgment. Boulware showed up to court on his daughter’s birthday to ask that she and many other girls be allowed to continue to play on their school’s sports teams. 

That day Missouri House representatives, in a 100-51 vote, proceeded with adding this provision to a bill prohibiting transgender girls from participating in girl’s high school sports teams. This doesn’t make it official until 2022, when Missouri voters decide this issue.

Representatives, House officials, and many other members of Congress are speaking out on the relationships of their loved ones and the injustice they faced due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Pushbacks cannot stop people from expressing who they truly are.

In Dec. 2020, award-winning actor Elliot Page came out on his Instagram page as a transgender male. Page was overwhelmingly happy to express himself and grateful for those who have supported him along the way.

“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self.” Page commented.

Oprah Winfrey sat down with Page to discuss his journey in an interview presented by Apple TV last month. Page described his time in isolation during the pandemic as an opportunity to separate himself from the world’s views and allow himself to come to his acceptance of his true identity. 

Page emphasized the importance to many, including himself, the ability to undergo top surgery as being lifesaving. He calls out the current state of transgender health care and the Missouri case taking away transgender girls’ right to play school sports. He calls lawmakers liars for their portrayal of health care for the trans community. 

“Children will die,” Page stated simply as a result of denying a generation their right to be who they know they are.

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