It happened again, most recently at the VIP reception for Pride when Nicole O’hara Monroe, the first African-American and first transgender person chosen as a grand marshal of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, stood to speak to the assembled group of sponsors, Dallas Tavern Guild Pride Committee members and assorted VIPs. As she spoke, she alluded to the hubbub over transgender people using the bathroom before moving on to just how many of us have been murdered this year (it’s 20 as of today, if you’re keeping score).
I don’t blame her at all for mentioning the bathroom thing; our legislature spent the whole session squabbling over the issue and then went into overtime discussing it. Besides, it’s a great ice breaker and always gets a few nervous chuckles.
But the time has come to force the conversation past bathrooms. That issue has been settled, once and for all: Transgender people pose absolutely no threat to anyone in the bathroom, and we never have. We have just as much right to be there as anyone else, and I’m sick of defending something that needs no defense.
People are fucking dying.
I would imagine in some GOP think-tank or hate group headquarters, like the Family Research Council, they are just thrilled to keep us defending potty rights. It keeps the discussion away from other areas where oppression is real and constant. We MUST call them out!
This is by no means a comprehensive checklist of human rights violations, but it’s a start. And these things are happening right now, and they have been happening for years.
• When I speak to groups of people in business settings or even among the medical community, I often ask for a show of hands: How many believe that it is legal in Texas for a doctor to DENY CARE to a transgender person?
The fact is, it’s true. A lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and signed by Judge Reid O’Connor on New Year’s Eve of last year makes that OK.
Oh, and doctors can also use their sincerely held religious belief to deny care to women who have had an abortion. So there’s that, too.
• There have been several reports of CPS removing transgender children from the homes with loving parents, especially if one parent is affirming and the other is not. Such a case happened this month in Illinois, and it resulted in the death, by suicide, of a transgender child forced to live with a non-supportive parent and no hope of transition. That child was 14 years old.
• I’ve spoken to many parents of transgender children who avoid taking their sick children to Catholic hospitals because of the horrible treatment and misgendering that happens there.
• This past July, so-called comedian Lil Duval expressed disgust at the idea of trans women on a segment of The Breakfast Club radio show, saying if he unknowingly dated one, she would “die” when he found out.
I don’t find that amusing, because that happens. And in 48 of our 50 states, the “trans panic” defense is still on the books.
• Too many of us have to train our doctors how to treat us because little if anything is taught about transgender healthcare in medical schools. I can’t count the number of calls I’ve received from someone asking for a “trans-friendly” doctor. It boggles my mind that there would be any other kind, but there is.
The mother of a 7-year-old trans girl received a letter from her pediatrician telling her to find another doctor because he disagreed with her loving and affirming approach to raising her child. Wow.
• Then there is Trump. That fake-hair-wearing dumpster fire has done us no favors.
He rescinded the Obama administration’s welcome to transgender troops serving openly in the military. He has revoked the interpretation of Title IX from the departments of Justice and Education offering protection to transgender students. And he stacked his Cabinet and the courts with anti-LGBT characters.
• Our employment prospects are terrible. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, more than 25 percent of us have lost a job due to bias, and more than three-fourths have experienced some form of workplace discrimination. Extreme levels of unemployment and poverty lead one in eight to become involved in underground economies, such as sex and drug work in order to survive.
• A recent study here in Dallas found that while LGBT kids make up a small percentage of the population, they make up a staggering 40 percent of the homeless kids, mostly because when they come out, they are kicked out.
• We can’t donate blood. The American Red Cross considers every transgender person to be two things: A man, and a pathological liar. I am neither.
Now, there are some positive things on the horizon. For example, in the city of Dallas, the health plan offered to employees finally covers transgender healthcare that was previously excluded by Cigna.
But the few advances are far outnumbered by the attacks.
So, to sum up: transgender people face severe issues finding good jobs, have a difficult time finding a doctor to treat us adequately, are vastly over-represented among the homeless, have tragically high suicide rates and are murdered for being who we are.
Add to that hostile state and federal governments and religious leaders, like that nut-job at First Baptist in Dallas, telling us we are all going to hell.
That is NOT OK! None of that is OK.
But, yeah, by all means, let’s keep talking about bathrooms.
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman, is a former radio DJ who lives and works in Dallas. Read more of her blogs at lesliemichelle44.wordpress.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 22, 2017.