Liberation Generation: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality beyond 2000

Chapter 3

Transgender rights


whilst the detail may differ, unity of purpose can be forged between transgender and gay people around the struggle for full civil rights and for the right to have your gender, sexuality and relationships recognised in law


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TRANSGENDER ISSUES are not about sexuality but gender identity, so there are differences between fighting for lesbian, gay and bisexual rights and transgender rights. However, much of the prejudice experienced by both these sections of society comes from a common root against which there can be a united struggle.

Transgender people are amongst the most stigmatised and discriminated against sections of society. Being denied your self-identity has many implications. For example, it is not possible to change sex on birth certificates. One implication is that it means outing yourself to employers who require birth certificate ID for things like pensions, so leaving yourself vulnerable to discrimination including the sack.

Transgender people are not allowed to work with children and have no rights over children from a relationship if their partner, or former partner, dies. Often they will be banned from seeing their children. They are not allowed to marry, or to be recognised as a couple, thus being denied all the rights which marriage automatically confers.

If sentenced to jail, a transgender person will be sent to a prison of their previous gender. Prison doctors are not obliged to continue their NHS treatment.

Your death certificate is of first gender, not only a negation of that personís entire existence, but with potentially painful implications for their family.

Making a claim on your insurance can leave you without cover if you fail to indicate your birth gender when taking out your policy.

Transsexualism, or gender dysphoria, has long been considered medically treatable rather than a psychiatric illness. But in applying for gender reassignment therapy and sex reassignment surgery, transsexuals find their way blocked by the under-resourced health service.

The wait for treatment is often years especially for female to male transsexuals for which there is only one hospital in the country that deals with this condition - and then treatment is minimal. Put on a par with cosmetic surgery, it goes to the back of the queue for funds. In this, transsexuals have a battle in common with working-class people as a whole - to fight for proper resourcing of the health service and against the leeching private profiteers.

Whilst the detail may differ, unity of purpose can be forged between transgender and gay people around the struggle for full civil rights and for the right to have your gender, sexuality and relationships recognised in law.

 

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