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Alexandra Uribe

Professor Malcom Campbell

UWRT 11014-003

5 April 2017

Transgender Today

The constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Bill of Rights states our basic human

rights and ensures that everyone is treated equally no matter what the circumstances are. The Bill

of Rights Institute declares that in the Bill of Rights, the first amendment states, Congress shall

make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or

abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to

assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This means that we can

say, think, or believe whatever we want without fear of the government or punishment.

So what exactly does it mean to be transgender? Transgenderism, also known as gender

dysphoria are people who have a gender identity that does not match their assigned sex. The

main argument of opposition of Trans people is that it goes against religion and it is a choice.

Recent medical studies refute transgender men and women choosing this lifestyle. In America,

we are allowed the pursuit of happiness, and living the life you want and feel like you were

meant to live falls under that. With that being said, why are transgender men and women finding

it harder and harder to do so? Laws like HB2, marriage laws, etc. all make the lives of

transgender men and more all the more difficult. What if you were told your marriage never

existed? What if you were told you were considered a legal stranger to your child? What if you

were told the gender you identify as is not going to be recognized? Trans people have been one
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of the most targeted groups of domestic violence, hate crimes, and often victims of violent

crimes. This is the tragic reality of transgender people today.

An example of this sad reality is Michael Kantaras case. Michael was actually born

female. He got married and had two kids with his wife. One child was adopted by Michael and

the other conceived through insemination using Michaels brother as the donor. His wife Linda

argued that Michael was not biologically related to his kids and that he was considered a legal

stranger to them and the court agreed. Laws need to determine the validity of very important

things such as marriage and parenthood of transgender families (Currah, Juang, &Minter, 2006).

Marriage and family recognition are by far the trickiest issues faced by transgender men

and women. A milestone event happened in 2015 when same-sex marriages became federal law;

however, this does not apply to the transgender community. Currently, many men and women

dont have partner recognition in their lives. This means in the case of a medical emergency or

even death, the couple will not be granted benefits that heterosexual couples receive meaning

they are potentially legally vulnerable as laws have not been set in place to say otherwise.

Formal recognition of same-sex partners and parent-child relationships enhances emotional and

physical health as well as economic security of all family members; studies have also shown that

children of these parents benefit from increased social acceptance and familial support (Cahill &

Tobias, 2007)

Recently, all things dealing with the LGBT community has been at the forefront of

political debates, especially with the recent presidential election. In April of 2016, North

Carolinas government signed in to affect the HB2 law. HB2, short for House Bill 2, the Public

Facilities Privacy and Security Act, and misleadingly nicknamed the bathroom bill, has
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highlighted a disconcerting trend in multiple states to propose blatantly discriminatory laws

under the guise of safety, religious freedom, and, ironically, equality The biggest debate

of those for this law is the safety of those in the bathroom. People argue that they feel unsafe

having their children use the bathroom with transgender men and women. There is plenty of

evidence that refutes claims by supporters of HB2 that the bathroom provision is a reasonable

safeguard to prevent sexual predators from entering the wrong bathroom. The most compelling

fact is that, despite the over 200 cities (across 35 states) having passed ordinances allowing

transgender individuals to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity, there have

been no reported cases of transgendered women sexually assaulting girls in bathrooms (Lee,

2016). For those not in favor of this piece of legislation, they say that state took a step back 100

years.

Many businesses were against this law and showed their disapproval. Take for example

the HB2 law in North Carolina, when the governor signed the law into effect, it ended up costing

the state an estimated 3.7 billion in lost revenue and countless jobs according to the NPR.

Sporting events, concerts, and other events were canceled or relocated to other states. The

largest loss is also the highest profile one: $2.66 billion from Paypal backing out of plans to

expand a center in Charlotte, creating some 400 jobs ended up being relocated to Virginia

(Domonoske, 2017).

Laws like HB2 have shown to those against the transgender community that hate and

intolerance is ok. Transgender people have a much higher risk of bullying and violence against

them. Middle and high school is particularly a hard time for all teens. Constant bullying, teasing,

and other hard obstacles happen daily to our youth. With that being said, transgender youth are

two times more likely to attempt suicide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes
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that all students, regardless of sexual orientation, reported the lowest levels of depression,

suicidal feelings, alcohol and marijuana use, and unexcused absences from school when they

were in a positive school climate and not experiencing homophobic teasing (Lee, 2017).

Schools implement policies in order to make all students feel safe, welcome, and accepted, but

how do they expect these transgender students to feel so when the state implements these

policies that go against just that?

The transgender community is under constant threat of violence. Although there is a

growing support for the transgender community, there are still many people who disagree with it.

Many people are against Trans people because of religious beliefs, basic biology, or its just plain

weird to them. There are three types of violence that affect their communities. Hate crimes,

domestic violence, and murder.

Hate crimes are crimes motivated by hatred of people of a certain race, ethnicity, gender,

nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or degree of physical or mental ability.

Hate crimes differ from other crimes in that they are intended to threaten and intimidate an entire

group (Stein, 2004). Hate crimes against Trans people include physical and sexual assault,

vandalism, destruction of property, etc. The New York Times states that transgender people are at

the highest risk of hate crimes and states that people in the LGBT community are twice more

likely to be victims of hate crimes than any other group and minority transgender women are at

the highest risk. Nearly a fifth of the 5,462 so-called single-bias hate crimes reported to the

F.B.I. in 2014 were because of the targets sexual orientation, or, in some cases, their perceived

orientation (Park and Mykhyalyshyn, 2016).


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Domestic violence can be found in any relationship. More often than not, male partners

tend to be the perpetrators, although women have been found to commit these violent acts as

well. Over the past two decades, many researchers have come to believe that domestic violence

is as likely to occur in LGBT as in non-LGBT relationships. To understand why this may be the

case, transgender people and others point to the distinction between birth sex and gender identity.

Because the two do not always correlate in an individual, gender differences may exist even in a

same-sex relationship, and it may be the case that "masculine" LGBT people are more likely to

commit violence against "feminine" partners (Stein, 2004). Information about transgender

domestic abuse is still scarce compared with what is known about non-transgender relationships.

Experts agree that the majority of instances of abuse in relationships go unreported. Many Trans

people dont speak out about their abuse in order to keep from further stigmatizing their group or

fear of bias from law enforcement (Stein, 2004).

Transgender men and women, just like any other group of people have been both victims

and the perpetrators of violent crimes such as murder. Looking at some well-known Trans

murder cases reveals crimes committed by the trans community and how the media has

sensationalized and served to reinforce the link between "deviant" sexuality and violent

behavior and to portray both as threats to society. One violent crime that was broadcasted to

reinforce this link is the case of Alice Mitchell. Lisa Duggan has done extensive research on the

publicity surrounding a late-nineteenth-century violent crime: the 1892 murder of a young

Memphis woman named Freda Ward by Alice Mitchell, who had planned to dress as a man so

that the two could get married. After female relatives discovered and foiled the plan, not only did

Mitchell kill Ward, but also she was committed to an insane asylum and later killed herself.

Duggan examines the narrative structure of the tellings and retellings of the Mitchell-Ward story
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and argues that in these various versions, the link between female sexuality and violence draws a

clear boundary between the normalcy of the heterosexual family and the dangers that lurk

outside its purview. It thus served as, among other things, a cautionary tale (Stein, 2004).

Recently, the transgender community has been receiving a growing amount of support

and public figures have been coming out and sharing their stories. Celebrities such as Caitlin

Jenner, Chaz Bono, and Laverne Cox have given examples of what being transgender is really

like. With all this being said why are so many people so against it? As people have become more

accepting, some have become more opposed. Many people base their arguments off religion,

biology, or just how they feel about someone being transgender.

Transitioning is not easy it takes years of preparation, surgeries, and recovery time, and

hundreds of thousands of dollars for facial reconstruction surgeries, body reconstruction

surgeries, hormone pills, therapy, etc. Transitioning is a major decision and is irreversible. The

changes you make to your body will be forever, and if you have made the wrong decision, you

will never be able to completely reverse your actions. Transition is for life. The process is very

expensive, painful, risky, and irreversible. The average transition takes about 3-5 years, but is

also a lifelong process.

These transgender men and women feel like they are trapped in the wrong bodies, their

mind doesnt match their physical bodies. People argue that being Trans is a choice, but why

would anyone want to subject themselves to ridicule, excruciating pain, etc.? People also argue

that God doesnt make mistakes and that the body you were born in is the correct one. Others

argue that basic biology constitutes that the XX or XY combo determines male or female, but

many perfectly healthy people dont even fit into a so-called biological binary. I also would
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add to the argument, how does society explain the phenomenon of being a hermaphrodite? That

is when a person has both male and female genitalia. Was that their choice?

With all this being said, the debate continues, and more and more studies are being

conducted to further understand gender dysphoria. I believe that America will continue to take

steps in the right direction for everyone, including those in the transgender community. Although

its been a long journey, we have definitely come a long way. Transgenderism is not a new

phenomenon and has been around for hundreds of years if not since the beginning of mankind.
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Works Cited

Bill of Rights. Bill of Rights Institute, billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-

rights/. Accessed 2 Apr. 2017.

Cahill, Sean, and Sarah Tobias. Policy Issues Affecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender

Families. Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan Press, 2007, muse-jhu-

edu.librarylink.uncc.edu/book/7271. Accessed 2 Mar. 2017.

Currah, Paisley, Juang, Richard M., and Minter, Shannon. Transgender Rights. Minneapolis,

Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2006.

Domonoske, Camila. AP Calculates North Carolina's 'Bathroom Bill' Will Cost More Than $3.7

Billion. NPR, NPR, 27 Mar. 2017, www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-

way/2017/03/27/521676772/ap-calculates-north-carolinas-bathroom-bill-will-cost-more-

than-3-7-billion. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.

Lee, Catherine. The Fight for Children's 'Safety' in North Carolina. The Fight for Children's

'Safety' in North Carolina, 25 May 2016, www.childadolescentbehavior.com/Article-

Detail/the-fight-for-childrens-safety-in-north-carolina.aspx. Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.

Park, Haeyoun, and Laryna Mykhyalyshyn. L.G.B.T. People Are More Likely to Be Targets of

Hate Crimes Than Any Other Minority Group. The New York Times, The New York

Times, 16 June 2016, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/06/16/us/hate-crimes-against-

lgbt.html?_r=0. Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.

Stein, Marc. Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered History in America, vol.

1, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004, pp. vii-xii. Gale Virtual Reference Library,

librarylink.uncc.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?

p=GVRL&sw=w&u=char69915&v=2.1&id=GALE
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%7CCX3403600007&it=r&asid=2da37aca796b06434aaa7a53b1e06b67. Accessed 13

Mar. 2017.