is usually the case, I was searching for stories to cover for my columns. I stumbled across an editorial in the Washington Blade, entitled We must protect rights of transgender people. Well I’m all for that. That is the theme about which I write most…especially so over the past week.
I do have to acknowledge some disappointment over the reception those stories have received. In my world, human rights have priority #1. Everything else comes tumbling after.
The Blade editorial focuses on two reports released earlier this month which “paint a disturbing picture of the global status of trans communities – a portrait of human rights violations, violence and marginalization.”
Well, duh. If you haven’t gotten that much out of what I have been blogging about since 2005, then apparently we have been miscommunicating.
I’m going to cover one of those documents. I guess I’ll save the other for a rainy day.
Let me note up front that the report covers life to the south of our own country, which concerns me because that usually means nobody will be interested. But there is no reason to embrace American exceptionalism on this issue. The United States suffers some of the identical problems as our Latin American neighbors when it comes to the treatment of transpeople. Indeed some of them do much better than our country.
Yet these reports show how trans people are subject to especially extreme abuse, from many angles. Lest anyone use these stories as reason to rejoice for not living in one of “those barbaric countries” it’s worth noting that the U.S. racks up one of the higher murder rates of trans people worldwide. Routine police mistreatment and abuse of trans women in one neighborhood of New York City was recently documented – with stories remarkably similar to those told in Bogota, Johannesburg or New Dehli.
It is also important to note that much of the political agenda advanced in the name of LGBT rights – whether same-sex marriage or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – have little relevance to these communities. A marriage license won’t stop a bullet. As noted in a statement put out on Dec. 17 by 50 organizations, the LGBT rights movement needs to better address issues of criminalization of trans people.
—Washington Blade editorial