Transgender rights are human rights

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The conversation surrounding transgender rights and the government has been revisited as a result of a draft of a US policy change obtained by The New York Times. If this goes into effect, gender, in the eyes of the government, would be determined by “the sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued.” This would be a complete shift from the Obama era policy.

During President Obama’s administration, the official definition of gender is largely left up to how people identified rather than what it says on their birth certificate. Transgender people have already experienced attacks on their freedom such as the Trump administration’s attempt to keep those who have already or plan to transition out of the military.

The draft, if put into action, would be a serious invasion of privacy for the estimated one million U.S. adults that identify as a gender other than the one assigned to them at birth. The government is essentially telling these people that they can’t officially be their authentic selves, that the government can and will control them. A controlling government is the complete opposite of what transgender people and the U.S. population as a whole needs.

Many conservatives will tell you that all they want is the least amount of government possible, however, they support a government that attempts to erase the existence of the transgender resistance. They dislike transgender people because they’re different — they break a binary mold that our society is all too comfortable with. But transgender people’s existence isn’t something to be debated or “agreed” with. Transgender people are people, human beings with a wide spectrum of experiences. Their existence isn’t a question and they won’t be silenced as hard as the government might try.

The protesters that have gathered in the wake of the draft ask only for rights that the majority of Americans take for granted. They want their government to see them as they see themselves. We must ask ourselves if this is truly an outrageous request. Of all the troubling topics in the world— war, disease, starvation, etc.— we as a nation have fixated on this one for years now. We could be tackling much larger issues, but instead, we continue to go back and forth over whether someone’s driver’s license has an “f” or “m”.

Someone being transgender has no effect on most people. I am not transgender and have not always understood what it means to be transgender, but it is not for me to understand or “agree” with. It doesn’t make someone a bad person or “transphobic” if they simply don’t understand. People don’t have to “agree”, they just need to treat transgender people as just that — people.

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