The Quest for Transgender Equality

New York Times logo May 4, 2015 — Today’s New York Times features an extraordinary editorial, The Quest for Transgender Equality, and TLDEF’s work is included in it. The editorial is the first in a series devoted to the struggle for transgender rights. It covers a wide range of issues affecting the transgender community, including health care disparities, employment discrimination, homelessness, open military service, and others.

The editorial follows the movement for transgender rights from the Compton Cafeteria to Bruce Jenner. Along the way, it highlights many of the struggles the movement has faced. It touches upon TLDEF's advocacy on behalf of transgender women in West Virginia who are fighting for the basic right to obtain accurate driver’s licenses that reflect who they are. Trudy Kitzmiller, Kristen Skinner, and other transgender women have been targeted for discrimination by the West Virginia DMV under a policy that purports to prohibit license applicants from “misrepresenting gender.”

Trudy and Kristen’s stories are emblematic of the difficulties transgender people face on a daily basis when trying to live their lives authentically. They highlight the need for ongoing legal efforts to secure basic rights for transgender people.  

As the Times describes it, "[b]eing transgender today remains unreasonably and unnecessarily hard. But it is far from hopeless." In this first editorial, the Times calls upon the United States Census Bureau to begin counting transgender people as a first step towards improving their lives. "Having more detailed information about the demographics of the population is crucial to the evolution of stronger legal protections and expanded access to health care." And it calls upon the Department of Defense to lead a swift review of the steps the Pentagon needs to take to end the ban on open military service by transgender troops.

We applaud the New York Times and look forward to the important dialogue this editorial series will generate. The more we talk about real lives impacted by anti-transgender discrimination, the sooner we will create a world where transgender people are treated with the dignity and respect we all deserve.