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:
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.