Although there is MUCH work still needed to be done, we have seen good progress this year for the Transgender community. Several states have adopted anti-discrimination policies for gender identity and transgender people have become a protected class of people. Hawaii added to their existing non-discriminatory policies for Transgender people, protection as it relates to employment and public accommodations. Nevada and Connecticut passed protections this year in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
The government has now added Transgender protection for all federal employees. They are even changing the wording on their forms to include gender identity. This will include the Equal Employment Opportunity, Department of Justice, Health & Human Service departments and more.
Speaking of the HHS, on April 1, 2011, the Secretary issued a new policy explicitly requiring HHS employees to serve all individuals who are eligible for the Department’s programs without regard to any non-merit factor, including race, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability (physical or mental), age, status as a parent or genetic information.
Portland, Oregon became the third local government to offer transgender health care benefits for its employees, to include genital reconstruction surgery. The other two are Multnomah County in Oregon and San Francisco. It’s even believed that very soon the Veterans Administration will implement a health care policy that will standardize treatment for transgender veterans across the entire VA health care system.
I know we’ve had setbacks and we aren’t where we should be pertaining to our Transgender community. But, seeing what has been accomplished so far this year is definitely cause to celebrate and continue the fight.
**If you are a transgender person looking for local support, please visit our resource page for more information.