Nov. 27 marked the 40th anniversary of Harvey Milk’s death, California’s first openly gay elected official who served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
In the 40 years since Milk’s death, the LGBTQIA community has flourished and fought for equal rights. However, the community continues to face new problems despite all of their battles.
On Oct. 23, the Health and Human Services Department decided to strip the right of transgender men and women to associate themselves with the gender they choose, according to The Washington Post.
“Such a change seeks to negate claims that gender identity, rather than biological gender, can be used for protection under federal civil rights laws such as Title IX, which bans discrimination based on sex,” said Laura Meckler, Samantha Schmidt and Lena H. Sun in an article of The Washington Post. “If such regulations were adopted, the federal government would consider a transgender person’s sex to be what is determined at birth rather than the gender with which they identify.”
Gr Keer, an associate librarian for California State University, East Bay, has been involved socially and politically in the queer community since they were a teenager in college and now teaches the course Queer Cultures: Knowledge and Literacies, to educate students about the LGBTQIA community.
“If the federal government redefines gender as a narrow, biologically-defined category based on genitalia, it will wreak havoc on the lives of over a million trans people who live in this country,” said Keer.
Jessika Murphy, the coordinator for the Diversity and Inclusion Center at CSUEB, sees the problem as something that reaches further than just a restroom issue.
“Often folks just boil this issue down to bathrooms, when it’s really much larger than that. What this administration is seeking to do is eliminate any and all protections against discrimination towards trans and non-binary folks in public places,” Murphy says. “Public places does not exclusively mean bathrooms, this extends to every aspect of life outside the home.”
Murphy claims that being stripped of the right to select gender pronouns could potentially snowball and lead to the loss of more rights that the LGBTQIA community has fought for.
“It’s possible that we will be unable to get legal documentation that reflects our lived gender, and will instead have mismatched identification documents,” said Murphy. “It will be harder for us to get jobs after we graduate, and our healthcare may be compromised or become inaccessible, to name a few consequences.”
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Additionally, transgender recruits are also now allowed to apply for the military although they are currently being denied by the testing offices.
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