I Am Transgender, Roanoke May 2014
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July 3, 2014
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July 4, 2014

Opinion: A Declaration of LGBTQ Independence

When, in the course of the LGBTQ movement, it becomes necessary for our people to break away from the political parties which have long since suppressed us (cough, Republicans, cough), harnessing the powers of equality and acceptance in the endeavor to overcome our separate and unequal station from which the laws of President Obama and his administration attempt to free us, a decent respect to the opinions of others requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men, women, gays, bisexuals, lesbians, transmen, transwomen, queer persons, and persons with or without a declared sexuality or presented gender, are created equal, that these individuals are empowered by their own sense of self with certain unalienable rights, that among these are gender expression, sexual identity, and the pursuit of marriage, not just same sex partner benefits.  Unfortunately, to secure these rights, our government has long since been instituted by straight, privileged white men, many of whom believe they have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body, extending basic human rights to corporations like Hobby Lobby. We are the people. Not corporations.

  • Gay and lesbian persons pay taxes but do not reap many of the same basic benefits, rights, and protections of those taxes that heterosexual citizens do.
  • Currently, LGBTQ persons may only obtain legal marriage in 19 of 50 states. Though 31 states currently allow same-sex partner benefits, history has proven “separate but equal” to be unconstitutional.
  • Only about half of our states have passed legislation allowing for same-sex adoption by an LGBTQ couple, making it unfairly difficult for our family building. Three states currently allow step-child adoption. That is not equality.
  • Until last year, gay and lesbian military persons could not openly and freely defend our country. Although DADT has been repealed, inequality remains both on the front lines and on the home front.
  • Transpersons have long since been denied proper medical treatment, as the policy makers in our healthcare system label their often life-saving surgery as “elective.”
  • People are still murdered for not conforming to traditional gender roles, even in theoretically progressive places like New York and Washington, D.C.
  • Although ENDA is gaining political speed, there is still no law in 29 states prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 33 states, there is still no law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or presentation. Freedom of expression does not extend its privilege to gender roles.
  • Over 86% of students who identify as LGBTQ experience harassment, bullying, and physical harm while in schools. Of those students, less than half have reported feeling safe and/or supported by teachers, administration, and school policies. LGBTQ students are not provided adequate access to safe, quality education in the American public school system.

We, therefore, as acting members of the LGBTQ movement, in general consensus, many assembled, many appealing to the Supreme Court, our legislative officials, and the straight majority at large, do, in the name of equality, social justice, and on the authority of freedom and liberty for all, solemnly publish and declare, that these united LGBTQ persons are, and of right ought to be, free and independent people, absolved from the social injustice and political powers which bind us into a second class citizenship; that these united LGBTQ persons conclude peace, marriage, and all other acts and things which our heterosexual counterparts have the right to do—and for the support of this declaration, with a firm belief in future progress, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our families, our fortunes, and our honor.