written by: religioustolerance.org
Written by Religous Intolerance
Discrimination Against Transgendered People In America
"Reprinted with Permission from ICTLEP, the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy, PO Drawer 1010, Cooperstown, NY 13326, 607-547-4118, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, America On Line Keyword ICTLEP, web page www.abmall.com/ictlep". "Index" of transgender legal articles from five years of annual conferences available on AOL keyword and web page.
What does 'Transgendered' Mean?
A 'transgendered' person is someone whose gender identity or expression differs from conventional expectations of masculinity or femininity. For most people, there is no conflict or incongruity between their physical sex and their internal psychological identification as male or female. For transgendered people, however, their gender identity is in conflict with their physical sex, and thus their gender expression or physical characteristics may differ from their sex as assigned at birth. Although transgendered people have been part of every culture and society in recorded human history, they have only recently been the focus of medical science. There is a broad consensus among medical researchers that transgenderism is rooted in complex biological factors that are fixed at birth. This research confirms what transgendered people know and experience on a much more personal basis: being transgendered is not a choice nor a "lifestyle," but a difficult, uninvited challenge.
Who are Transgendered People?
Transgendered persons include pre-operative and post-operative transsexuals, transgenderists (persons living full-time in a gender other than their birth sex with no desire to pursue surgery); transvestites (preferred term: crossdressers, those whose gender expression occasionally differs from their birth sex); "mannish" or "passing" women, whose gender expression is masculine and who are often assumed to be lesbians, although this is not necessarily the case; "feminine" men who are often assumed to be homosexual, although they are just as often heterosexual; and intersexed persons, whose sex was arbitrarily assigned after birth and who often manifest physical characteristics, expression or identity that differs from the sex assigned without their consent.
Are Transgendered People Gay?
Most people do not understand that gender identity and sexual orientation are two different aspects of human sexuality. Gender identity involves a person's internal sense of being male or female, whereas sexual orientation involves those to whom one is attracted. Transgendered people have the same range of sexual orientations as non-transgendered people: most are heterosexual, and a smaller percentage are homosexual or bisexual. Despite this reality, transgendered people are almost universally perceived to be homosexual simply because of their appearance, which is often that of a masculine woman or a feminine man. Because this perception is so pervasive, transgendered persons are particularly subject to targeting by people who are obsessed with gay and lesbian stereotypes, and often cannot escape such targeting by adopting a "straight" appearance.
How are Transgendered People Discriminated Against?
------------National Journal of Sexual Orientation Law, Vol. 3, Issue 1 ------------ ---------------------------------END PAGE 1---------------------------------------
Denial of an opportunity to make a living is the single most damaging and pervasive form of discrimination against transgendered people. Even more systematically than lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people, transgendered people are routinely targeted for work place discrimination and almost universally unprotected under existing laws. There are few transgendered people who not have experienced loss of employment, denial of employment, or underemployment solely because of their transgendered status. For transsexual people in particular, initiating the process of gender transition frequently means permanent loss of a profession or career. In addition to the impact on individual transgendered people and their families, this discrimination has a tremendous social and financial cost. Because so many transgendered people are excluded from employment, transgendered people are disproportionately driven into poverty and/or unwanted dependence on public assistance. Transgendered people also confront many related forms of
discrimination, including denial of basic civil rights and protections in housing, public accommodations, and health care. Transgendered people are also frequent targets of hate crimes: verbal threats, hate mail, harassing telephone calls, and acts of physical and sexual violence committed by the same persons who target lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
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