Wednesday, August 1, 2007

To Support [Or Not Support] Transgender Rights?

The status of support for transgender rights almost always raises questions about whether the broader movement for lesbian, gay and bisexual rights actually advocates on behalf of their gender non-conforming brothers and sisters. Some activists maintain the movement includes transgender Americans in its acronym of constituents as a way to claim they advocate on behalf of the entire LGBT community. Others conclude the push for transgender rights is the next chapter of a social movement that began nearly 40 years ago. Even more people say the movement for lesbian, gay and bisexual rights must do much more to support transgender people and their rights.

These three arguments only add folder to the broader conversation about the status of transgender rights. Activists in Massachusetts, New Jersey and other states have raised these questions in the context of the recent campaigns to advance marriage and civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. The [Fort Lauderdale] Sun-Sentinel reported today local gay and lesbian activists appear divided on whether to support the inclusion of gender identity and expression to Broward County's anti-discrimination laws. Many of these activists staged a protest last month against Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle for anti-gay comments he made in reference to proposed automatic toilets on local beaches to curb what he described was 'homosexual' activity. The Sun-Sentinel reported, however, some fear a potential backlash if the anti-discrimination proposal moves forward. This position begs the question: do they actually support transgender rights? These activists would almost certainly maintain, at least in public, they do. Their apparent questions about the impact of this proposal may prove otherwise to those who advocate on its behalf.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Sun-Sentinel story is very misleading and actually false in many of its statements. There is no division in the South Florida GLBT community over the addition of sexual identity and expression to non-discrimination laws. There is only one individual, Ms. Bodiford, who says we should not fight for our trans brothers and sisters who very much need our help and support. She has stubbornly refused to work with the community in standing up for the rights of all citizens.

As one of the activists who put together the rally against Naugle and spoke at it, I can assure you and your readers that we support these additions to protect all of our citizens. We have shown that we are a united, strong force in South Florida politics and do not fear backlash for standing up for what is right. Just like Naugle is one lonely voice who is out of touch with our community, so is Bodiford.