Trans Rights Are Human Rights

A group of people sit and stand in a circle. One person holds a Pride flag. The background is the wall of an historic building with two arches. This artistic photo is tinted yellow.
“Dia de Trans,” celebrated in the beautiful city of Cartagena, Colombia. Picture by Juan Pajaro Velasquez

“Rarely has an issue that so few people encounter — and one that public opinion analysts have only recently begun to study in depth—become a political and cultural flash point so quickly,” said Jeremy W. Peters in a brilliant New York Times news analysis. The piece points out that while a minuscule part of the population feels “threatened” by the “unfair competition” of trans girls in school and college sports, nearly all students feel unsafe in school — and with good reason. Another piece, this by Megan Rapinoe in the Washington Post, talks about social conservatives chasing a problem that does not exist.

In the White House, thankfully, reason and human decency recently prevailed, when the Senate confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine as the first Assistant Secretary for Health. She pledged to “promote policies that advance the health and well-being of all Americans,” including transgender people like herself. But her confirmation 52 to 48 should not have been so close. The article quotes Dr. Levine as saying, “Sadly, some of the challenges you face are from people who would seek to use your identity and circumstance as a weapon. It hurts. I know. I cannot promise you that these attacks will immediately cease, but I will do everything I can to support you and advocate for you.”

“Any attempt to discriminate against trans kids or trans people is actually against the law and against nondiscrimination laws already on the books,” said Reggie Greer, senior White House advisor on LGBT issues to the White House.

Mississippi recently became the second state to ban transgender women in sports, and lawmakers have introduced similar bills in 25 other states. And the Arkansas governor earlier this month allowed medical workers to refuse to treat LGBTQ people.

“Transgender and non-binary people face significant cultural, legal and economic challenges, but continue to bravely share their stories, boldly claim their seats at the table and tirelessly push equality forward,” said Human Rights Commission President Alphonso David. “The transgender and non-binary community’s pride, power and resilience should be a lesson to us all. As advocates, we must commit to learning together and building a world where every person can truly thrive.” HRC has already marked 12 violent killings of transgender people for 2021.

For those who doubt the authenticity of sexual and gender identity, the science supports the trans community. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Gender identity and sexual orientation are fundamental independent characteristics of an individual’s sexual identity. Scientific American documented that “sex is anything but binary” and urges people to “stop using phony science to justify transphobia. Sex and gender are not the same. s

Human decency and kindness also support the trans community.