Today marks the 11th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honor those among us whose deaths were a result of prejudice against transgender people. The day serves as a sad reminder that, as much as we are moving towards tolerance and societal acceptance of transgender people, physical violence continues to be a threat in our communities.
But with last month’s passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, perhaps we have reason to hope that next year we’ll have fewer victims to mourn. This new law, which expands the definition of violent federal hate crimes to those committed because of a victim’s sexual orientation, gender, disability or gender identity, will not only protect LGBT people in the United States, but also serves as an example for other countries hoping to deter anti-gay and anti-trans violence.
As part of the ACLU LGBT Project’s transgender advocacy efforts, we recently released an updated version of our Know Your Rights: Transgender People and the Law resource. We are also in the process of creating a new Know Your Rights resource for transgender youth that will provide guidance about how to deal with discrimination in school. This resource will address questions such as, “Do I have a right to be out as transgender at school? If I’m out, can my school tell my parents?” and “Can my school force me to wear clothing that’s traditionally masculine/feminine?”
We’re looking for trans youth who have experienced discrimination in school and who would be interested in being interviewed for an online video that will be used to help us get the word out about this new student-focused resource. If you’re interested in working with us, please contact us here, or by calling 212.519.7835.