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13 October 2011

Praise: California Transgender Laws

Transgender, the 'T' in LGBTQ, is the toughest in sexuality for many of us to understand.  If one is straight, gay, or lesbian, then the sexual orientation is very clear.  No confusion.  If one is bi, then either gender is attractive and, while others are confused, the bi individual can be as comfortable with herself or himself as a straight, gay, or lesbian person.  People who are transgender are not comfortable with who they appear to be.  For anyone who is comfortable in their own skin (other than the details like wanting to lose a few pounds), it doesn't make sense that someone might not be as comfortable with themselves.

Not easily understanding another person, of course, does not make it right to discriminate.  California has two new laws as of 10 October, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act and the Vital Statistics Modernization Act.  There are articles on these at the Huffington Post and at Care2 (among others).  The Gender Nondiscrimination Act deals with gender identity and expression, which clarifies existing non-discrimination laws and makes transgender persons a protected class.  The Vital Statistics Modernization Act lets a person update their ID with their doctor's verification and without the need for proof of surgery.  San Francisco's Transgender Law Center is hailing both laws as huge victories.

It would be wonderful to live in a world where this was a non-issue.  Sadly, those who hate and fear are not going away.  Catholic Online does not approve of equality.  Here are the last two paragraphs of their article:

The laws mark the latest in a round of increasingly government sponsored changes to the culture in California. As the state steadily moves away from the two parent, heterosexual marriage - and the family and society founded upon it - it is apparently trying to stand out as a leader in promoting the homosexual equivalency movement and a cultural revolution.

While few will argue against equality and legal protection for all citizens, critics say the new laws are much more than that. They reflect a fundmantal [sic] re-making of of the social order and an erosion of the marriage bound, heterosexual, two parent family as the foundation for civil society in America.

Like sexuality, being transgender is not a choice.  The only choice for such a person is whether to go through a major surgery to bring their body into alignment with their identity.  This is not just my opinion, but that of the American Psychological Association in a lengthy (106 page) study.  Among the reports recommendations are:

• Amend the Equal Employment Opportunity and Anti-Harassment sections in the APA Policies and Procedures Manual to include gender identity and gender expression.
• Ensure that all APA policies that make reference to gender identity be amended to include gender expression as well.

The American Medical Association also opposes discrimination against transgender persons.  We can only hope that eventually we can move beyond the hate and fear that makes such policies necessary.


  1. A bit of irony over at that Catholic Online page - a place to sign up for newsletters with a field that calls on the potential subscriber to "Select Gender."

    For people who don't bother to read and understand their own sacred scriptures, their slant is predictable - referring to getting the same protection that Catholics have for their religion "special rights" when it comes to gender identity is typial of bullies. The "homosexual equivalency" piece would be completely loopy, except for the idea that they think that one member of a gay couple would assert a trans gender identity, and have their papers changed just so they can get married - but without actually being trans. So they're actually looking at this as a loophole for marriage equality that falls short of the Iranian solution of also forcing a surgical requirement.

    They would be hard pressed to understand that Yeshua himself understood trans people, in Matthew 19:12. It's too bad that the RCC doesn;t measure up to his standards.

  2. Thank you, Joann, for the biblical reference. Any critique you have to offer is always most welcome.

    For any who aren't following Ms. Prinzivalli's wording, Yeshua is a reference to one more commonly known as Jesus.


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