Within our society today there are two sides when it comes to transgender rights: those for and those against.
The Supreme Court of the United States recently voted to allow the transgender military ban, a ban which is purely based on the philosophical opinion of the current administration. The administration has not been able to provide evidence supporting the claim that transgender troops affect military readiness in adverse ways. Though the court proclaimed that it’s allowing the ban to go into effect while the lower courts sort out the legal objections to the ban, it failed to consider the ban’s effect on humanity. It also sent a signal to those against transgender rights that it’s OK to discriminate against trans-people.
This injustice is one of many transgender people have suffered under the Trump administration. The administration seeks to define sex, in this case meaning gender, as a person’s status as male or female based on “immutable” biological traits, meaning a penis or vagina, identifiable by or before birth. The sex, or in this case gender, listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence. This definition completely disregards a more widely accepted definition of gender: either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female. As the definition of gender describes, gender isn’t defined by biological traits; instead, it’s defined by societal and cultural differences.
Now, I’m alright with people having societal and cultural differences with me. I prefer, I guess because I’m a curious person, to try to learn from those with differences. However, in our world of polarized viewpoints, we are forgetting that we need to discuss things like this with civility. I respect people’s differences of opinion and so should you. I have the right to pursue happiness and be free to choose what’s best for me the same as anyone else does. No two people are the same, no two people’s pursuit of happiness is therefore the same, but to take away someone’s rights as a citizen of this country is wrong. It is discriminatory. There can be no argument about this. Simply put, because the administration doesn’t understand trans people, they are trying to erase us.
Most people don’t know anyone who is transgender. Estimates put the population at about 1.4 million people in the United States, a tiny percentage of the overall population. When the administration attacks the trans population of this country, and let’s be clear on this, we are talking about a population with a very small voice, a voice that goes unheard in large part, the trans population comes together to show love and support for each other. For every injustice they throw our way, we take the high road, the road less traveled.
Make no mistake about it, trans people, including myself, are in a fight for our very existence. If the Supreme Court refuses to have our backs, and only wants to play partisan politics, ask yourself this: Is America really just? Is America really free? And at a more important level, ask yourself one important question: Is this really the best America can be? I sure hope not.
Roberts is a transgender advocate, UW-Eau Claire graduate, associate business analyst for United Healthcare and campaign manager for Eau Claire City Council candidate Laura Benjamin.