The Transgender Bill of Rights
- Individuals have the right to self-determination of their gender identity.
- Discrimination on the basis of gender identity is illegal.
- Trans panic as a legal defense is abolished.
- Where there is probable cause, violence against trans people shall be investigated as a hate crime.
- Trans-related healthcare and medications are to be made available under the informed consent model and trans-related insurance exclusions are prohibited.
- Trans people have the right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
- Trans people have the right to change their name and gender marker on all documents, public and private, including birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and credit reports.
- A third gender marker, “O”, shall be used on public and private documents to designate non-binary/intersex/other genders.
- When held or detained by the state, trans people have the right to be treated as and housed with the gender they identify with.
- When held or detained by the state, trans people shall not be denied trans-related healthcare and medications.
- When physically searched by law enforcement or other security personnel, trans people have the right to decide which gender performs the search.
A decade ago, most cis people viewed trans people as objects of prurient examination or targets for genocide, or both. We were treated as deviants and undeserving of respect or compassion. Those two strains have carried forward and continue to intersect around race, age, and class. Murders of trans women of color are at epidemic levels and being “surprised” to discover that someone is trans is still a valid defense for murder in some jurisdictions.
Indeed, the genocidal urge towards trans people is still strong today as even a cursory glance at comment threads on news articles about trans people or policies shows. The recent surge of bathroom bills has emboldened those that agitate for murder and they are out in force with their pitchforks and torches.
What has changed is that a growing number of cis people are coming around to view trans people as people, not the caricatures that regressives and Hollywood continue to paint us as. More heartening is the growing belief that we are deserving of the same rights as other people.
Trans rights intersect in different places than cis people’s and the expression of those rights doesn’t make them special, it makes them equitable.
When I think about what rights trans people deserve, I start with what we need: we need people to stop killing us because we’re trans, we need to stop being treated as outcasts and exotics, we need to end discrimination against us just for who we were born as, we need the legal tools to fight the systemic discrimination that prevents us from realizing our potential, and we need human rights in order to live our lives peacefully.
Since the list is a mix of social and legal expectations, and being cognizant that laws can change social behaviors, I’m proposing the above Transgender Bill of Rights as an overarching legal framework for trans equality.
I’m curious what you think. Does The Transgender Bill of Rights encompass all of our needs?