The term transgender describes individuals who identify as a gender other than the one the society assigned to them based on their sexual organs. Many transgender individuals experience depression and anxiety because their gender is not reflected in the way people interpret their bodies. Transgender people undergo severe mental, emotional, and physical relief when they use names or pronouns aligning with their gender identity instead of their assigned gender. Their problems are worsened by how society treats the group by denying them their rights and freedom to activities such as employment.
The civil rights mass actions of the 1950s and 1960s, led to the end racially segregated bathrooms and increased the recognition of the diversity in society. As a result, laws like the Americans with Disability Act were formed, and consequently, disabled persons had restrooms that easily accessible(Sprigg, 2010). Similarly, society recognizes the existence of LGBTQ issues, and significant progress has been made regarding discrimination and same-sex marriages. Given the awareness, it is time that society embraced transgender individuals in all public places, including in employment opportunities, and even provides them with suitable bathrooms based on their gender identity.
Causes of the transgender problems in society
Indignation and discrimination are the major cause of problems for transgender individuals. Society treats transgender individuals as disturbed and strange individuals which lowers the dignity of transgender individuals. Such individuals are discriminated against in schools, and thus most of them are barely educated and lack skills. The lack of resources and equal treatment in society subjects them to poverty. They, therefore, end up as beggars in the streets or engaging in antisocial behaviors such as prostitution. Moreover, the group is subjected to significant physical and mental abuse as compared to other people in society who are considered normal. The perpetrators of the abuse include police officers, mobilization groups, and customers as sex workers. The lack of financial strength and support from society makes it difficult for them to initiate legal procedures against their perpetrators.
Unemployment is one of the significant problems facing transgender individuals, as most people consider them outcasts. Besides, even though a manager may be willing to hire them, the idea may cause tension among board members and other employees who disapprove of transgenderism. As a result, very few transgender people secure employment, and the employed one rarely gets promoted to senior positions.
Medical and health
Even though many people believe that transgender individuals are at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases due to their unique lifestyle, problems in accessing quality healthcare also contribute significantly to their health issues. The living standards and health issues facing the community demand the people to access high-quality medical care.
Rehabilitation and family
Society alienates transgender people, which makes them experience psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. They have trouble fitting in the normal family setting as most of them live together, which hinders their ability to socialize and integrate with society. Family members distance themselves from members who conform to transgenderism due to social stigma.
The “Bathroom Bills” is an example of the few legislations in the United States that seeks to address the issue of transgender in the country. The law would require transgender individuals to use restrooms that are consistent with their sex assigned at birth. The bill raised a clear-cut debate across the country, with 38 percent of the population favoring the law and the rest opposing it as of 2017 (Barnett, Nesbit & Sorrentino, 2018). While some individuals advocated for the recognition and fair treatment of transgender individuals, others still consider the issue immoral. A good example of legal suits that aim to improve facilities for transgender communities is experienced in schools.
A significant concern in the issue had arisen regarding schools and how school administrations catered for the needs of students who conform to the transgender culture. Initially, many schools considered it inappropriate to support such acts, which were deemed to be immoral in society. The issue, however, led to several legal battles that forced schools to provide resources that suited all students. Consequently, on December 9, 2014, the nation-wide school board passed a resolution that required schools to not only provide resources to biological genders but also provide an alternative appropriate private facility to students with gender identity issues(Sprigg, 2010). In addition, according to Vermont House Bill 333, which was passed in 2018, the bill will require all public single-user bathrooms to be labeled as gender-neutral. The House Bill 333 was meant to embrace diversity, accommodate transgender individuals, and criminalize the bathroom bills in other states.
Conversely, bathroom bills were meant to infringe the freedom of transgender individuals and limit their actions in public. Many transgender and human rights activists believe that bathroom bills were expected to make the lives of transgender individuals more difficult. The law is to be overseen by the respective state government even though the specific term and punishments for offenders vary significantly. The state Governor of Vermont stated that bathroom bills torture diverse individuals, especially young students, based on insignificant values. The strengths of the bathroom bills include the fact that some states support the idea and have put measures in place to ensure that transgender individuals only use restrooms that align with the gender assigned to them at birth (Esbeck, 2015). The limitations include adopting the law leads to instability and disagreements with other states and investors and may affect the economy of the state like the case in North Carolina. The strengths and limitations, however, depends on an individual’s point of view on the matter.
Another social issue that affects transgender individuals is getting employed as they are discriminated in work environments during application by recruiters and during employment by both managers and fellow employees. As a result, the United States has experienced various case proceedings in court between employees and employers or former employers. Despite significant wins in recent years, many transgender individuals feel there is more to be done. Human rights activists have pushed for tremendous laws to improve the lives of the people in different areas including in securing employment. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) is an example of federal law that prohibits discrimination of employees based sex among other factors (Sprigg, 2010).
Although the law does not explicitly protect transgender individuals only, recent cases of discrimination of transgender individuals have applied sections of the law and resulted in many wins. According to the law, employers with fifteen or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on their sexual orientation. Moreover, in 2014, the United States Attorney General declared that the country’s department of justice would consider employment discrimination against transgender individuals as sex discrimination. The law aimed to prevent an employer from discriminating against individuals concerning any term, as mentioned in the law. More areas that were prone to violation include promoting, transferring, disciplining, assigning work, providing benefits, training, discharging, or measuring the performance of work.
One major strength of the policies is that it brought fairness in society in terms of how individuals are treated. Today, even though there are still cases of discrimination in some workplaces, many transgender individuals have been able to secure employment in different departments. Public institutions also help to provide appropriate resources for individuals. Various human rights organizations have formed viciously advocating for the complete inclusivity of transgender individuals in social programs. The limitations of the policy include the fact some states still have rules that dehumanize transgender individuals. For example, the state of North Carolina enacted harsh rules against transgender individuals. Although they modified the laws after experiencing challenges like a low investment in the region based on the choice, the current laws still do not give transgender individuals complete freedom and fairness.
Barnett, B. S., Nesbit, A. E., & Sorrentino, R. M. (2018). The transgender bathroom debate at the intersection of politics, law, ethics, and science. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 46(2), 232-241.
Esbeck, C. H. (2015). Federal Contractors, Title VII, and LGBT Employment Discrimination: Can Religious Organizations Continue to Staff on a Religious Basis?. Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 4(3), 368-397.Sprigg, P. (2010). “GENDER IDENTITY” PROTECTIONS (“BATHROOM BILLS”). Family Research Council, July.
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