The times of overwhelming fear of persecution based solely on sexual orientation are fading into nothing more than a history lesson. Being a homosexual is certainly becoming more accepted in the United States. Today’s generation has found new morals based on fluidity and freedom of authenticity. There is an overlooked population with the LGBT community, those that are transgendered. The liberal movement has not fully excluded us but in a way we are the unacknowledged participants.
Many Americans have a profound lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender. Consequently, transgender people commonly face a wide variety of discriminatory barriers to full equality. Transgender people sometimes face difficulties meeting their basic needs (getting a job, housing, or health care) or in having their gender identity respected (like in the simple act of going to a public restroom).
As a Trans-Man myself, I have experienced this first hand. Within the LGB community, I seem not fit I also do not fit within the public norm. I am a biological female and am attracted to women, yet my true gender dictates a certain amount of separateness. Since I’m not a lesbian, there is a certain amount of exclusion that I face. To some, the opinion that I am just a woman who wants to be a man threatens the ideals of the community. Nothing is further from the truth I’m a man who was born into a female body. Over that fact, I have no power; all that I can do is live authentically.
The fundamental difference it would seem is the things we can and cannot change. Lesbians, bisexuals and gays, cannot change whom they love. It is as pre-determined as eye color. Although, with the Trans community, there is a prejudice based on a question of choice. Some believe that if one wanted to they could live as the gender they were born as without consequence. The concept that we of the Trans community are as powerless over our gender dysphoria as those of the LGB community are over their attractions is one that most dismiss. These breeds prejudice even amongst a community founded on equality.
Many of the discrimination transgender people face mirrors that experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but is often more severe. Additionally, transgender people face a range of legal issues that LGB people rarely do: identity documents not reflective of one’s gender, sex-segregated public restrooms and other facilities, dress codes that perpetuate traditional gender norms, and barriers to access to appropriate health care. These are things the every member of the Trans community must interact with daily.
In my opinion, the journey to true equality starts within our own community. To end the acceptance of prejudice as a right we must first begin to challenge it within ourselves. The separateness of the LBG and Tran’s community must cease to exist if we ever hope to know true equality.