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Exploring Gender: The Silent T





LGBTQ* (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Transsexual, Queer or Questioning) is the general acronym used to describe the community, the asterisk used to denote the inclusion of anyone who is a part of the community, but is not represented by any of the letters, such as asexual or pansexual. But over the past few years, some have argued the trans* part of the community is not being well supported by the rest of the community.

Arguments such as this did not find real ground until the 110th United States Congress when the Employment Non-Discrimination Act was introduced and included originally both sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. But after that bill died in committee, gender identity was removed, and the bill was reintroduced, passing in the House before dying in the Senate. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) supported this change to the legislation with the hope that it would pass without those provisions, but many criticized this move as an abandonment of a part of the community for which the HRC was supposed to be advocating. For those in favor of removing gender identity from the bill, it represented an opportunity for a step in the right direction, with hope that step would lead to others in protecting the rights of all LGBTQ* people. Others feel as if this move undermined the basis of the community: the inclusion of all people under the LGBTQ* umbrella and work towards equal rights for all of those people.

Since this occurrence and progressively through the years, more unrest has centered around the idea of the T being silent. LGB has come into the foreground with the fight for marriage equality, with the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (trans* people still cannot serve openly in the military despite the repeal of this law), with visibility thanks to gay characters in media, with celebrities willing to be out openly, with nationwide campaigns such as NOH8 and It Gets Better. But trans* issues do not have the same visibility, and many of the trans* community feel as if they have been fighting for the rights of the rest of the LGBTQ* community without mutual support. Gender and sexuality at times intersect but unfortunately are not inherently protected by the same legislation.

I have written before about how many LGB issues are trans* issues as well, such as marriage equality which affects trans* people who are either gay or have not or do not want to change their gender marker on their identification. We must remember so many of our goals overlap. I will never stop fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ* community. I want to fight for the rights of my friends as well as my own. I want to educate them about what the trans* community still needs because, sadly, that is much of the problem. People just do not know. The LGBTQ* community is so diverse, and even if you are a part of the community you do not have automatic knowledge of all of the people in it. Education is the key to progress, and being vocal and spreading knowledge about trans* issues can help us move forward. The fights for marriage equality, for healthcare, for job protections, they don’t just stop at one person, at one identity. They are valid to us all.

If you have any questions about the hurdles facing any of the LGBTQ* community, please post them in the comments, ask me here, or on my tumblr. I am more than happy to pass along helpful information.

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