In Their Own Words: LGBT Advocates on the State of Transgender Issues

Eight leaders in LGBT advocacy give their thoughts on what 2013 meant for transgender rights, and what 2014 might bring.

BY Parker Marie Molloy

December 26 2013 6:00 AM ET

Keeping the Fight in the Courts
Kylar Broadus is the head of the Transgender Civil Rights Project at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. In 2012, he became the first transgender person to ever testify before the United States Senate, speaking out in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

BROADUS: This year there have been numerous advances for transgender rights. For starters, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s historic decision in Macy v. Holder, that discriminatory actions based on transgender status are actions based on sex, and are therefore covered by Title VII. The Social Security Administrations’ changes making it easier for transgender people easier to update their gender status making us less vulnerable. The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women’s Act, will specifically protect, for the first time, transgender people, lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. State level changes in health care with four states and the District of Columbia making it clear that its discrimination against transgender people to exclude coverages. The Affordable Care Act, which will provide coverage for many for the first time and allow pre-existing conditions. This also prevents lifetime limits on pre-existing conditions.

The clarification from the Obama administration and the Department of Education that Title IX does protect all students from discrimination and bullying including LGBT students. Then the historic Senate passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act was a great victory for our community but we have much work yet to be done.

It is my hope that we are able to see that the health care issues will continue to grow and expand and hopefully become a non-issue for transgender people because healthcare is a human rights issue. All people should be afforded health care.  I have experience discrimination in health care as a black American and as a transgender American; there is no reason for it. We must continue to do education to improve our system.

I hope we’re able to continue to work to build support for the Employment Nondiscrimination Act in the House and grow bipartisan support. It’s the right thing to do. Again, everyone deserves the right to employment if they are qualified to work.

I also hope we are able to focus a spotlight on the continued violence in our communities and start to prevent some of the hate violence and murders that occur. There systemic reasons for this and I hope we can address more of those such as unemployment, homelessness and simple societal misunderstanding.

I think we will see some of the same challenges in 2014 with people’s fears overcoming their common sense. We hope to change hearts and minds and increase visibility and awareness in 2014. This seems to be the key to creating change.

We will continue to be working on the same issues that we’ve pushed in the past. We believe that all these issues are still relevant and important and intersect.

We focus on working at the intersection and bringing many issues together. In addition to our transgender work, there is still marriage equality/partner recognition, immigration reform, reproductive justice, aging, HIV/AIDs, racial and economic justice, youth work, faith, hate crimes, parenting and family recognition, campus and politics, and election work, which are the things we focus on every day.

Tags: Transgender

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