by: Lea Gnoy
In my last blog, I wrote about what leads to violence towards transgender and non-binary individuals and how they are affected. While it is important to hear these factors and effects, it is even more important to hear positive progress in a world where systemic barriers, discrimination, and violence pervades.
On March 31, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration recognized the day as Transgender Day of Visibility, reassuring the transgender and non-binary community that the “un-American” bills that were passed in state legislatures would be combatted. On this day, many plans to demolish barriers that affected the well-being of transgender individuals were made. The Justice Department issued a letter to all state attorneys reminding them that transgender youth, or youth pursuing gender-affirming care, are protected under the federal constitution. This letter ensured that all children “are able to live free from discrimination, abuse and harassment” (Department of Justice 2). While this statement should be a given in regards to every child, it is still improvement in the political world for equality for transgender and non-binary individuals because of how much hate and discrimination they usually face.
Advances were made in the travel system as well. The Department of State announced that there would be an “X” option for the gender marker on any U.S. citizen’s passport, and the Department of Homeland Security announced many alterations that would refine the traveling experience for transgender and non-binary individuals. These improvements include enhanced screening technology that removes gender-based systems, updated Standard Operation Procedures to accurately validate every traveler’s identities, and updated TSA PreCheck to be more inclusive for transgender and non-binary travelers. There are also countless other improvements such as providing mental health resources for transgender youth, expanding training for schools to be more supportive of students, improving customer experiences, and combatting legislative attacks on transgender kids at the state level through many political actions. While these efforts are still not enough to make our country a safer and more inclusive place for transgender and non-binary individuals, these are steps in the right direction.
“Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Advances Equality and Visibility for Transgender Americans.” The White House, The United States Government, 14 July 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/03/31/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-advances-equality-and-visibility-for-transgender-americans/.
“Justice Department Reinforces Federal Nondiscrimination Obligations in Letter to State Officials Regarding Transgender Youth.” The United States Department of Justice, 31 Mar. 2022, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-reinforces-federal-nondiscrimination-obligations-letter-state-officials.