Transgender people treated as second class citizens


For the transgender community there is no sure bet. Laws protecting transgender individuals vary state to state. In some states, laws prohibit transgender people to have the same rights as non-trans people.

Washington DC’s Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) declared protections for transgender people on March 15. The bulletin prohibits insurance companies from blocking people of the transgender community from access to health care coverage. The DISB said that it is unacceptable to deny transgender individuals rights or to discriminate against anyone based on their gender expression.

The bulletin states that under the District’s Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act, “…it [is]illegal to refuse to insure, refuse to continue insuring, or limit the insurance coverage to an individual on the basis of gender identity or expression and a host of other areas.”

Prior to the Act, several health insurance companies were denying transgender individuals coverage and access to services that they were providing their cisgender (non-transgender) clients.

Health services such as “mastectomies for breast cancer; hormone replacement therapy; and high blood pressure medications” are services which were provided for non-trans people but were denied for transgender people by some insurance providers in DC, reported the DISB.

Neighboring state Maryland nixed an equality bill that would cover transgender individuals under anti-discrimination laws. A committee of Senators voted against the widely supported bill that would have protected the transgender community against discrimination. Anti-discrimination laws protect sexual orientation, race, religion, age, sex, marital status and nationality, but do not protect transgender individuals in Maryland.

The proposed anti-discrimination bill was led by Montgomery County senators, Richard S. Madaleno Jr. and Senator Jamie Raskin, who also had the support of 21 co-sponsors, five of whom, were county senators.

However, the bill was struck down 6-5, and the bill will not be sent to the full chamber for further proceedings.

Despite the turn-out, Senator Raskin told The Gazette, “It is inevitable that we are going to end discrimination against the transgender population,” he continued “It’s just a question of when we’ll do it.”

There is good news for the transgender community on the West Coast, however, after California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, proposed a state-wide bill that would allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room of their gender expression, as well as play on the sports team of their gander.

The bill is tentatively scheduled to go before the California Education Committee on April 17.

Spokesperson for Ammiano, Carlos Alcala, told 429Magazine that “obviously you can’t count on anything” however, he continued, “[we are]pretty optimistic on it passing the Education Committee then we have to take stock on what will happen with the full committee.”

Alcala pointed out the bill will set the precedent when it comes to transgender issues in schools. He explained that “the assemblyman feels strongly on the rights of trans people” he said, “if you have a girls choir some schools want the student in or out of it based on the schools records [of their sex].”

He explained they – Ammiano and his supporters – want gender to determine the placement of a student on a gender-specific activity, rather than their biological sex, which is what the bill is proposing.


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