As Americans, we often pride ourselves on our open-mindedness, acceptance, and freedom for all people. However, it has been only recently where we’ve gained close to equal working wages for women and men. Now, according to a recent Mother Jones article, many states are working to change legislation to strengthen transgendered peoples’ employment rights in the American work force.
It’s about time.
The article lists numerous alarming statistics regarding transgendered people, including that 90% of transgendered people face discrimination at work, 70% are likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and over 40% have admitted to attempting suicide. In general, pop culture has begun addressing the hardships transgendered people face. The popular show Degrassi depicts a young teen named Adam, who faces a tough transition in high school while trying to live life as a male despite his female body. He faces bullying from many of his peers, which leads to self-harm due to his experiences. Although this may sound like an extreme case, transgendered individuals deal with a heavy amount of discrimination, not only in school, but in work and social environments as well. Other popular television shows have depicted the pressures transgendered people experience, such as MTV’s The Real World. In the Brooklyn season of the show, Katelynn shared her experience with the cast about her struggles adapting to life as a female.
As Americans, we believe that all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Gender and sexuality should not have any impact on these rights, and we are starting to see states acknowledge this. Recently, Hawaii became the thirteenth state to pass legislation to protect the rights of transgendered people regarding workplace discrimination; Connecticut and New York have also recently worked to protect these rights. But, we need to continue to fight so that all fifty states retain the belief of equal rights for ALL people.