Should Transgender Americans Be Afforded Rights Equal to Those Seen by Other Americans
Debate Rounds (3)
One group that is, in the current societal and legislative climate, particularly vulnerable to discrimination and crime is the transgender community. With trans* Americans comprising approximately (based on current estimates of 0.5% of any given population being transgender or gender nonconforming) 1,614,300 people, and "binary transgender" Americans comprising approximately (based on current estimates of 0.3% of any given population being transgender but identifying with a binary gender) 968,600 people, it is a substantial number of people who are affected by the current social and political climate towards transgender and gender nonconforming persons.
There are a few states that offer equal or nearly equal rights to trans* Americans. These states include California, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Accounting for these states as having equal or near equal rights and protections afforded to trans* Americans, this leaves approximately 1,358,100 transgender and gender nonconforming Americans with unequal rights and protections, approximately 814,900 of which are "binary transgender".
To define "equal rights", I am using a general rule of thumb based on current anti-discrimination legislation. This includes, but is not limited to, employment protections, anti-discrimination policies in public accommodation, housing, lending, education, medical insurance, medical practice, definition and prosecution of hate crime and so on.
Considering that over 1.3 million trans* Americans live in states with incomplete protections in these regards, it is quite clear that discrimination may not only be experienced, but the victims of said discrimination have no legal means of defending their rights as Americans.
A few examples of this are as follows:
In Maine, the rights and protections lacking include: no bans on insurance exclusions, no trans inclusive insurance benefits for state employees, no (feasible) means of changing the gender marker on birth certificates, no law that addresses hate crime or bias on the basis of gender identity.
In New Jersey, the only difference from Maine is that the state does have a law that addresses hate crime or bias on the basis of gender identity.
In Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the rights and protections lacking include: no bans on insurance exclusions, no trans inclusive insurance benefits for state employees, no (feasible) means of changing the gender marker on birth certificates, no anti-discrimination labor laws in private employment, no law that addresses hate crime or bias on the basis of gender identity, no law that addresses student discrimination on the basis of gender identity, no prohibition of discrimination in housing or public accommodation on the basis of gender identity.
In Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming, no anti-discrimination protections are afforded to transgender or gender nonconforming Americans whatsoever.
Also, in both Texas and Kentucky, there are laws that criminalize the use of a bathroom that does not align with sex. Sex is defined in the Kentucky Senate Bill 76 as "biological sex", which can be interpreted to mean either genitals or chromosomes. In Texas, the definition in House Bill 2801 is similar, but in House Bill 1748 it is based on chromosomes. One alarming thing to note about House Bill 1748 is that in the case of women who were born with XY chromosomes but developed no male reproductive system and developed female secondary sex characteristics, they would be forced to use the men's restroom despite having been socialized as a woman their entire lives.
There are multiple reasons why this discriminatory application of anti-discrimination laws is unjust and should be stopped. The first is that transgender Americans are citizens of the United States, with some very rare exceptions. The rights of American citizens are as follows: the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of religion, the right to a prompt, fair trial by jury, the right to vote in elections for public officials, the right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship, the right to run for elected office, and the right of the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The states who do not address hate crime based on gender identity, for example, are potentially reducing the protection of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There are many cases of hate crimes such as rape and murder due to an individual being transgender. There are also cases in which an attempted rape turned into a murder because the victim was found to be a transgender woman. There are few states with employment protections, and in many states, even public or federal employment does not have employment protections based on gender identity, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does not address gender identity. This potentially infringes upon the right to apply for federal employment that requires U.S. citizenship. Also, the states Texas and Kentucky, with their statutes against the use of bathrooms matching gender identity by transgender persons are limiting specifically the right to liberty and the right to freedom of expression.
The next steps at this point are simply to extend current anti-discrimination laws to include gender identity. This is something that should be carried out by each state, as it is the state's right to determine said anti-discrimination laws. However, there should be a national push to bridge the gap of the rights and protections between the transgender community and the rest of American society.
Estimates based on multiple sources, found here: http://fivethirtyeight.com...
https://www.lambdalegal.org... (Note: this figure of 12% is based on a small survey of the entire LGBT community, which is estimated to make up about 4-5% of the population, thus resulting in an estimate of .48-.6% of the population)
All numbers are according to the Population Clock (http://www.census.gov...) estimates of the U.S. population at 12:48AM EST, January 23, 2016.
Subsequent estimates of population not covered by the legislation in California, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia are based on a table containing the percentage of the U.S. population contained within each state as of 2014, found here: https://en.wikipedia.org...
Based on the infographic by the Huffington Post here: http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com...
The laws are listed here: http://transgenderlawcenter.org... (Note: The Florida bill never made it out of committee)
The rights are listed here: http://www.uscis.gov...
A list of laws enforced by the EEOC: http://www.eeoc.gov...
Since I"m relatively new to this website and don"t yet know how things work here, I feel like a short disclaimer is in order due to possible sensitivity of the subject matter. First of all I"m here for the sake of debate and discussion (arguments present are for the sake of con, I can personally swing both ways), if any offense is given it is not intended. Secondly I"m not from the United States (I"m assuming based on the context of the arguments that"s what the debate focuses on), hence my arguments will evolve more around ideas and the data brought up by pro.
The idea that all people in a single country have the same rights as their peers should be self-evident. If that is indeed the motion of this debate then I concede. Debate over. You won. However as some of the commenters have implied, what pro is advocating for is not equality but special treatment. Hence I"ll be debating against the standards that pro has defined as equal.
The problem that this motion seeks to eliminate is the very real problem of discrimination that some transgender people face solely on the basis of what they are. However implementing this motion would be likely to do more long term harm to the LGBTGQ community as have possible other negative outcomes. The fact of the matter is that change comes slowly and though it saddens me, the LGBTGQ movement needs to be more patient. Imposing special privileges on to transgender individuals is the wrong thing to do. Force should not be the way to change. It will only strengthen those who discriminate towards them, which is the core problem that needs to be fixed. Thus it is the attitudes of the populous at large which needs to change, not legislation. Luckily this is what is currently happening, people are slowly becoming more accepting, hence it is important not to take too drastic moves that could have negative effects on the community at large, not just trans people.
I can guess at the frustration of LGBTQ people, it is not fair that they need to wait for their rights. Maybe people in the future will be better off, but some might not live to see this day. However creating legislation based on gender politics is not the way forwards as Pro would be suggesting.
The problem with gender identity is that it is unmeasurable; all you can go by is the word of the individual, which of course isn"t a reliable method of determining it. Right now the people who would lie about their gender identity are low, due to there being no real reason to lie about the topic. However by giving special rights to transgender people, it is likely that more people will start doing so. This does two things. First it undermines the hardships that transgender people face and the label as a whole; it will just become a means of getting extra benefits with no drawback. More importantly it opens up numerous variabilities in society. While it is true that there are numerous transgender people in the States, there are also a large number of sex-offenders.
It is not just paedophiles that can abuse the system, and gain access to areas they previously couldn"t get to their targets at, it is all the perverts, stalkers, peepers, rapists, ect. who now have a whole range of new opportunities to act. Toilets are the least of your problems. Just think of all the places where the States have gender segregation, such as changing rooms, showers at swimming pools and saunas. The list is endless and all these areas become "hunting grounds" for all the perverts out there.
What it comes down to with this argument is that: by giving these special privileges to trans people, such being allowed to enter any area meant for the opposite biological sex, it takes away the freedom to feel comfortable or safe from the people who right now use these services. Sometimes you must go with what causes the least pain to the majority even if it harms minority groups in the process. In an ideal system this wouldn"t be necessary, but as the statuesque stands we do not live in an ideal system. You wouldn"t want to cause needles harm to your fellow peers just because you feel pain yourself?
So what pro needs to prove is that there is a reliable way of proving ones gender identity. If not then the burden becomes that these special rights for trans people are more important than the rights of the rest of the populous. (Also even though it is self-evident why Pro thinks this motion should be acted upon, it would still be nice to have it in writing).
Another problem that lies within gender identity is that, the very concept is one of the contributors to the attitudes, that causes discrimination against trans people. By supporting the motion you are supporting harmful gender stereotypes that the identities are based on. An ideal society that we should strive for is one where an individual can have any traits and not be ladled as something. There would be no artificial restrictions on what one can wear or do based on their biological gender. As I have already stated to get to this world we need to change the opinion of the population as a whole. Break down the stereotypes, not create more in-out group dynamics. We are all human. Can"t we just treat each other equally based on that?
KittyCatalina forfeited this round.
KittyCatalina forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 8 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff many times, so conduct to Con.
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