In 1852, Frederick Douglass made a speech. In it, he asked “What to the slave, is the Fourth of July?” He went on to note that he had great respect for the Founders of our Nation, as they were brave men. However, he also noted that…while the rest of the nation celebrated…he and his community mourned.

I find resonance in those words…for, today, in 21st century America…I, as a transgender woman, have very little to celebrate. The rights and freedoms everyone else seemingly takes for granted…which are supposed to come with birthright citizenship…are denied to me. In my own state, laws were passed defining what bathroom I must use…regardless the risk to my own personal safety or comfort. Because someone MIGHT “pretend to be trans” to gain access to women’s spaces…to do nefarious things.

Let me unpack just how much bullshit there is in that entire line of reasoning. For starters, those who would pretend to be trans, to gain access to women’s spaces…to do nefarious things – by definition, they are criminals. And law or no law, they will do as they were going to do anyway. That is what criminals do.

Well…that is the argument we always get whenever we talk about passing common-sense gun-control legislation, or restriction on certain kinds of weapons that have no business in civilian hands, anyway…right? “If you outlaw guns, only criminals will have guns!” “We don’t need more gun laws, criminals won’t obey them anyway!” We have heard these arguments…yes?

YET..the very same people seemed to believe that somehow criminals WOULD magically obey the stupid law about bathrooms passed in North Carolina in 2016, infamously known as HB-2. Let me be clear: HB-2 protected NOBODY…and put an already marginalized and vulnerable community at great risk. They did not care, because they also disparage that community…and I don’t think it is a stretch to say that many of them actually WANTED us transgender people to be hurt. To be assaulted, beat up, raped and even killed in bathrooms.

Another faulty premise HB-2 rested on…was that somehow…we trans wanted to peek in on their wives and daughters. Because, after all…let’s face it…that is what a lot of hetero cisgender men imagine THEY might do…if given the opportunity to access women’s spaces. They fail to recognize that WE ARE NOT WIRED LIKE THEY ARE. We identify AS WOMEN. Not as men. And any other time they talk about us…the men are all freaked out that we trans might, like, come on to them. So which is it?

I specifically speak of trans women here, because NOBODY cared about the trans men using the men’s bathroom. This hateful legislation was aimed squarely and solely at transgender women…because they think we are creepy and icky. Oh, they would never own that if you confronted them with it…but it’s there. Live my life every day, and you see it all around you…in news media where murdered trans women are routinely misgendered and identified by their former male names (my own transmom, Terrianne…is even misgendered and misnamed in the cold case file of the Jacksonville, Florida P.D.) Almost eighteen years ago she was murdered on her own front lawn. A single gunshot to the head. And to this day her killer has never been brought to justice.

So this is just the stuff everyone NOTICES…because it is titillating. Because…ooooh….the bathroom…because our society cannot EVER seem to collective get it’s mind off sex for even so much as two lousy minutes. What they do not notice is the day-to-day indignity and injustice we transgender endure…and have endured for decades. And from which our governments refuse to protect us.

In nearly half of our states, you can be fired, or denied a job, legally…just for being transgender. Including my own home of North Carolina…which, in fact…is the only state in the nation…that literally codifies into law…discrimination against transgender people! This was done with the so-called repeal of HB-2…known as HB-142. In it, there are provisions that ONLY the State Assembly may make any laws or policies about bathrooms…forever. So if I am a school superintendent, for example, and I want to be accommodating to a trans student, and set up a separate bathroom for them…or allow them to use the bathroom with which they identify…legally, on my own hook, I can’t. I have to go through the State Assembly…which has no interest in granting transgender people basic rights or human dignity.

Similarly, in many of the same states, you can be evicted from your apartment or home…or be denied a rental…or even be denied credit to purchase a home…just for being trans. And businesses are free, in most of those same states…to refuse to serve us…even some government agencies refuse to…and do so legally.

They set us up to fail…in every way imaginable…make our already-difficult lives…as impossible as it is possible to make them…and then wonder why over 40 percent of us have, at some point in our lives, attempted suicide…versus about three percent of the general population. I, myself, am a survivor of two attempts. My last was twenty five years ago.

And this is even before we scratch the surface of the further indignity heaped on us by the Trump Administration…everything from rescinding Obama’s bathroom guidance, to removing a question on the Census about if you identify as transgender…to banning trans people from serving in the military, to banning the CDC from even saying the word “transgender” verbally or in reports.

This last is more insidious than most realize. The CDC used to do reports about violence faced by transgender people in bathrooms. And they did reports on transgender people who suffered medical problems from bathroom avoidance…everything from bladder spasms requiring medical attention from holding it too long…to dehydration leading to kidney disease and kidney failure…in an attempt to avoid the need to use the bathroom at all. These reports are no longer done. And if there is no government report about it…it did not happen! EXCEPT THAT IT DID HAPPEN…AND IT IS STILL HAPPENING!!! How convenient for them, isn’t it?

Signs are on the horizon that things may be getting better…but not before over half the part of my life that matters…the part where I can work and earn money…has been laid waste! And of course it STILL depends on the Supreme Court. The STACKED Supreme Court. Whether they respect precedence and common sense…or ideology.

Currently, a case is headed to SCOTUS R.G & G.R Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. vs. EEOC and Aimee Stephens. 46 organizations collaborated to file an Amici Curiae in the case…and yours truly is mentioned by name in the Brief. I knew this was coming, because I was contacted and asked for permission to use my story in the Brief.

No. 18-107
In the Supreme Court of the United States
On Writ of Certiorari to the United States
Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
R.G. & G.R. HARRIS FUNERAL HOMES, INC.,
Petitioner,
v.
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
COMMISSION AND AIMEE STEPHENS,
Respondents.
AMICI CURIAE BRIEF OF TRANSGENDER LAW
CENTER, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL
RIGHTS, AND 44 OTHER NON-PROFIT AND
GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS IN SUPPORT
OF RESPONDENT AIMEE STEPHENS
AND AFFIRMANCE

And on Page 23 of the brief…my story is related:

Angela, a transgender woman from New Jersey,
was sent home when she came to work in a dress and
told to come to work dressed as a man.40 Angela felt
as though she was being forced to “choose between my
livelihood and my life.” Angela complied despite
feeling helpless and humiliated, but suffered an even
greater humiliation once she finished her shift: she
received a call from her employer saying not to return
to work because she was being terminated effective
immediately. Angela currently runs a small business
out of her home because she “would sooner die than go
on a job interview again.”
The discrimination that employees like Angela and
Carter experienced is undeniably discrimination
“because of … sex,” because it hinges on societal
expectations about how employees should act and
behave based on stereotyped perceptions of sex—the
very form of discrimination prohibited by Price
Waterhouse.

Note: Price Waterhouse refers to a 1997 ruling in Price Waterhouse vs Hopkins

My story directly relates to the legal action I took in 1997, resolved in 2002, and which funded my surgery, I might add. I am unable to articulate the defendant’s name in this case, nor disclose any other info about it…terms of our settlement forbid it.

I’d attach the Amici Curiae Brief to this article, but do not know how.

Anyway…this case may finally decide if we, as transgender people…have rights in employment and other areas…if we are in fact to be protected from discrimination on the basis of sex…which is currently precisely what we suffer. Discrimination on the basis of sex. Failure to conform to stereotypical dress and behavior based upon other people’s assumption of our gender.

And we suffer everyday indignity on the streets, in the public…in stores, in every manner of public accommodation…if a business so chooses…or if some other member of the public decides to harass us. And we have no protection.

We have thus no real ability to even carry out the essential functions of everyday life. And that is what transgender people face.

In a nation that lectures other nations around the world about human rights violations…it is almost laughable that MY basic rights and dignity…should even be a subject for debate! Certainly…in a free country…a truly free country…they would not be.

What is more fundamental to freedom…than the freedom to express oneself, and to identify oneself…in a way which does not break any laws…or OBJECTIVELY harm anyone else?

If my identity and my expression are limited…on pain of punishment/sanction – to only those things which are acceptable to others…then I am not free. And so I do not celebrate the Fourth…for I am not free. I have nothing to celebrate.

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Dajuan Candle
Member

Very well said Angela. That was a good read.
Do not let you voice be stilled.

Kimtech
Member
Kimtech

As always, giving the public the information and unique perspective we need to help us formulate opinions on the subject.

Thank you, Ange, for that.

kesmarn
Admin

Angela, thanks so much for writing this article. I have to say that I learned a lot from it. I thought I had a grasp of what trans people go through, but I really had no idea regarding the number of laws that are still on the books that permit discrimination to continue! Activists like you are the folks who produce necessary change. Kudos!

ordinaryjosephine
Member
ordinaryjosephine

“The rights and freedoms everyone else seemingly takes for granted…which are supposed to come with birthright citizenship…are denied to me.: Which rights are actually denied to you??

“And law or no law, they will do as they were going to do anyway. That is what criminals do.” True. Criminals have no regard for the law. Since the vast majority of females ‘identify’ as female, my question is why should their legitimate concerns be subordinate to those in the minority who ‘identify’ as female?

“I don’t think it is a stretch to say that many of them actually WANTED us transgender people to be hurt. To be assaulted, beat up, raped and even killed in bathrooms.” I believe that it is a stretch. A BIG stretch to say that. A person can and should love you in the way that Christ describes – loving the person while rejecting the sin. This by itself would prohibit them from wishing ill upon the person.

“NOBODY cared about the trans men using the men’s bathroom.” I don’t think that that’s really true. I just think that people recognized the greater potential danger posed by men pretending to be women to women.

“I have to go through the State Assembly…which has no interest in granting transgender people basic rights or human dignity.” Really? Or are they trying to balance the nebulous rights of transgender people with the rights of people who live/accept the sex acknowledged at birth based on their physical characteristicts?

“to banning trans people from serving in the military” – OK. Remember. A Lot of people are prevented from serving in the military. Got flat feet (for example)? Not serving. The transitioning trans community has a lot of stuff going on. The military is tasked with fighting and winning wars. It’s not the time for social experimentation.

“The STACKED Supreme Court. Whether they respect precedence and common sense…or ideology.” The SCOTUS has more people who seek to abide by their constitutional role than in a very long time. It is NOT their place to legislate from the bench. It IS their job to determine what is actually allowable under the Constitution.

“discrimination on the basis of sex…which is currently precisely what we suffer. Discrimination on the basis of sex. Failure to conform to stereotypical dress and behavior based upon other people’s assumption of our gender.” I’ll be blunt here. If you are not a biologic female, you have not lived the life of a female. Bruce(Caitlin) Jenner?? Really??? He/she has never actually grown up with who/what it means to be be female. Identify all you want; but it’s like me saying that I identify with being African American. My experiences will never be the same as one who actually is what they profess.

“it is almost laughable that MY basic rights and dignity…should even be a subject for debate! Certainly…in a free country…a truly free country…they would not be.” When did your “basic rights and dignity” become more important than the rights and dignity of those born with the identity you have chosen? Why should they take precedence? Why should those biological females be forced to accept biological men in their locker rooms?

“If my identity and my expression are limited…on pain of punishment/sanction – to only those things which are acceptable to others…then I am not free. And so I do not celebrate the Fourth…for I am not free. I have nothing to celebrate.” Everyone endures pain. Most endure unacceptance for one reason or another. That does not preclude one from celebrating the Fourth. (Imagine yourself living in another country. How accepted would you be? If more so, then go there. If less, then rejoice in and celebrate what you have here!) I am a Christian living my faith. How ‘acceptable’ do you think that is in today’s PC environment?? How ‘free’ am I? Yet I am able to, and do, celebrate the freedom we are able to experience as a nation.

Stop feeling like a ‘victim’ and start counting the blessings you have received. We could all find reasons to feel like we ‘got less’; but really, in America, we all get more than we would in any other society/country.

Be thankful for what you have.

AdLib
Admin

It’s interesting to see the lengths you went to to try and normalize your transphobia. Your absurd self-justifications for your prejudices only highlight how weak and disingenuous they are.

You prove dishonesty by contradicting yourself repeatedly, in one paragraph you question what rights are denied trans people then in multiple paragraphs that follow, you justify them being denied rights.

As you poorly attempt to deny Angela’s life experience, wisdom and identity, I think it would be far more appropriate for you to be introspective about identity issues.

You claim to be a Christian but there is nothing in the hatefulness and bigotry evidenced in your comments that reflects Christ or Christianity. It would be delusional to claim that Jesus Christ was hateful or bigoted towards any human being. It is incompatible with following the teachings of Christ thus incompatible with genuinely being Christian.

And since disdain of the transphobic and homophobic is a majority view in America…according to your convoluted “reasoning”, isn’t it justified for you to be disrespected and shouldn’t have to just accept that because your views are those of a minority?

pamela
Member
pamela

Wrong! Not biological men. Eunuchs loaded with estrogen would be the closest that you could possibly understand. Worst they’d likely do to you is insult your taste in clothes.

Kalima
Admin

Have you even read her post or did you just cherrypick your favourite talking points? How can you begin to understand what trans women or men have gone through and still go through every day?

Your misguiding and condescending advice to someone who has experienced what Angela has experienced in her journey, is insulting because you seem to be cluelessly judgemental and she wasn’t asking for it.

You flout your Christian values without possessing an ounce of what Jesus asked us to do. People who hate and discriminate as you do, make me feel ashamed to call myself a Christian. Thankfully I am not like you.

This is the only thing you got right. At least the first part.
“but it’s like me saying that I identify with being African American. My experiences will never be the same as one who actually is what they profess” because you will never know what it’s like to be born with a male body feeling that you are a girl. What sin? Are the increasing number of small children who feel this way, sinners too? What gives you the right to tell Angela to suck it up?

If it’s impossible to put yourself in another person’s shoes, then why comment at all?

https://planetpov.com/faq/terms-of-use/

pamela
Member
pamela

OJ was like that on original Yabberz too. Dumb as a post AFAIC too.

Kimtech
Member
Kimtech

Yep

Kalima
Admin

Hello, Pamela and welcome to The Planet.

Deliberate, disruptive behaviour is not tolerated here. Reading our “Terms of Use” states that very clearly.

Angela’s post was her personal opinion of painful facts in her life. It was not something to be ridiculed or debased by someone pushing their religious beliefs to judge her. If this person feels “persecuted” for their faith, maybe it’s because of the fact that she in turn persecutes others by trying to make them feel inferior.

This is a Liberal Progressive site, there must be many other sites where these opinions are shared. Here it just seems like a form self-righteous, mean-spirited trolling to me.

pamela
Member
pamela

indeed. Same MO on the old Yabberz too. 🙂

Kalima
Admin

I can believe that but not on my watch, and not on The Planet.

ordinaryjosephine
Member
ordinaryjosephine

“Stop feeling like a ‘victim’ and start counting the blessings you have received. We could all find reasons to feel like we ‘got less’; but really, in America, we all get more than we would in any other society/country.

Be thankful for what you have.”

Absolutely agree!!

AdLib
Admin

Isn’t it funny how Trumpers scold those who have been oppressed to “stop feeling like a victim” while they wail alongside their cult leader about “The Deep State” victimizing them, immigrants victimizing them, liberal values victimizing them, the media victimizing them, Obamacare victimizing them and on and on. They are so needy about their victim mentality, they even feel victimized by those who have actually been victimized in our society because it’s competing with the Trumpers’ need to feel like only they are the “real” victims.

The difference is, most minorities never wanted to be victims in the first place while Trumpers have an emotional, self-pitying need to constantly feel like victims…because the supremacy that their previous generations enjoyed has been slipping away.