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The Fight Against Transgender Discrimination: Current Frontiers

Coy, a transgender girl in Colorado, was relieved when her parents and school began treating her as female. Her mother says Coy “had anxiety attacks when people treated her as a boy.”

But when Coy started first grade, the school prohibited her from using the girls’ bathroom due to her male body; Coy would, however, be allowed access to a “gender-neutral” bathroom.

Coy’s parents “angrily pulled her out of school” and began homeschooling her. The Times reports on this increasingly common conflict:

According to the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which has filed a complaint with Colorado’s civil rights division on the [Coy’s family’s] behalf, 16 states and the District of Columbia offer some form of legal protections for transgender people. [….]

These days, even in states where no protections exist, school districts have become more amenable to meting out a solution when a dispute arises, said Michael D. Silverman, the group’s executive director.

While support for gender-identity equality lags behind banner causes like same-sex marriage, the issue is evolving. Last week, Washington D.C. residents gained more equitable health insurance coverage: the District’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking granted “parity to transgender individuals, allowing them access and coverage for the same services as non-transgender patients.”

Columbus, Ohio changed its regulations to protect gender identity in 2008. Last week, the city’s first transgender discrimination case was settled in favor of the plaintiff, an employee who was fired after self-identifying as transgender. The Human Rights Campaign Blog describes the current legal landscape:

While ordinances extend protection in cities like Columbus, it still remains legal in 29 states to fire someone based on sexual orientation and in 34 states based on gender identity or expression.

Enormous challenges face those fighting for civil rights for transgender people. On March 14th, the Maryland state Senate killed a measure which would have protected gender identity.

Anti-discrimination and employment laws change constantly. If you have any questions about current regulations, or workplace prejudice you’ve experienced, contact us today.

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