Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Transgender Women Stand Up for Their Rights

Within the last week, two different transgender women appeared in the press because they had filed lawsuits over discriminatory treatment they had received. At first glance, these women seem worlds apart: one is a prison inmate suing a NYC correction officer for harassment and rape in the Manhattan Detention Complex, the other is a retired police officer and 2008 women’s Long Drivers of America champion, suing for the right to participate in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), which has the requirement that all competitors be “female at birth.” But both are trying to get basic respect and dignity. Furthermore, the kind of employment discrimination that the professional golfer is experiencing is pervasive for transgender people and is connected to the lack of employment and economic survival options that land too many transwomen in jail. (You can see hard data on transgender employment, poverty and homelessness in New York in our LGBT Health and Human Service Needs Assessment.)

Most importantly, what these two different women have in common is the guts and determination to fight for their rights. That is what it took to win the NYC and California non-discrimination laws that these women are fighting to enforce. That is what it will take to win and enforce a statewide transgender non-discrimination law in New York. Join this campaign >

Posted by Desma Holcomb, Program Director, Empire State Pride Agenda
Photo: NYT/Bang Golf

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