Every day we hear more and more hateful, hurtful, and downright dangerous legislation and hate from around our country. I live in San Diego, California with some of the most positive and Trans-friendly legislation in the United States. Yet I and those I talk to are a little bit scared, we worry. Could this hate become a reality here? I don’t foresee it in the near future, probably not in my lifetime, but I am a true believer in Never Say Never.
So, I thought to myself, there must be some good news out there, there must be positive, uplifting Trans news somewhere. So, I went out in search of it. In keeping with the “it isn’t all bad out their” vibe, here is what I found.
Let’s start at the top, the U.S. Government, on March 30, 2023, the eve of the National Trans Day of Visibility, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) Co-Chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force, and Senator Edward J Markey (D-MA), along with representatives Sarah Jacobs (CA-51) our San Diego representative, Mark Pcan (WI-02), Mark Takano (CA-39), and David Cicilline (RI-01) have re-introduced a bill in both the Congress and the Senate which if passed will make history for our Trans/Non-Binary communities in the U.S.
The bill is called the Transgender Bill of Rights and was first introduced into the legislature last year by Jayapal and Markey, and they have said they will reintroduce it every year on that date until it passes.
The resolution has no real bite to it and is simply symbolic but keeping the needed protections the Federal Government should be implementing in the limelight may at some point generate actual legislation for us.
Some of the points of the Resolution include amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by explicitly citing gender identity and sexual characteristics are protected. Protections for students and student athletes to support and affirm their gender identities. Employment protections as well as housing and healthcare rights and protections.
Thank you, Congresswoman Jayapal and Senator Markey, for keeping our collective voices in our national legislature.
Continuing with the Federal Government thanks to President Joe Biden, you can now select X as your gender marker on your passport book. There are no longer any requirements to bring any proof of gender either medically or legally. In late 2023 on the passport card, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, expedited passport requests will be available. Thank you, President Biden, and the U.S. Department of State.
Next up is our favorite airport team, the TSA. Joking of course but the agency is working on being more and more Trans/Non-binary friendly. In 2022 they have made some recent changes to their policies. First up is the gender marker. TSA agents will be informed of the X gender marker on passports and state identifications. They have updated the imaging body scanners to be more inclusive by changing the software so it will set off less alarms, which happens way too much for our community. They are working with airlines to update passenger booking processes to include the Non-binary gender marker on airline tickets. Hopefully traveling while Trans will be a little less stressful in the coming years. GO Team TSA!
Finally, from our government, you can now self-identify your gender to Social Security. When you apply for a new card, say if you change your name, you need to bring the court order for the name change with you, but then you can tell them the gender marker you want without having to produce a legal or medical affirmation. WTG Social Security!
In other news right here in San Diego, we now for the first time ever have a complete Gender Affirming Health Care Clinic who provides everything from primary care, hormones to all Trans/Non-binary, and surgical options for those 18 and older. UCSD’s new Gender Health Program is fully up and running. The new Program Coordinator Rai Khamisa LCSW, is on the job. They can get you started and point you in the right direction no matter what services you are looking for.
UCSD has brought together a great team of doctors and surgeons who are fully trained to work with each individual person to make their transition personalized and seamless. Can you tell I am very excited by this?
For years most of us here in San Diego who opted for some kind of surgical procedure had to travel somewhere else. Most went to the Mecca of Trans surgery, San Francisco, and they still have many of the very best doctors in the U.S., probably even in the world. Traveling for surgery is costly and having to be away from home for sometimes a month or more is prohibitive for many. Even though insurance companies now cover the medical costs, not all of them will cover transportation, food, and lodging. If you have been there, you know how expensive San Francisco is! So, an alternative right here in San Diego is such a wonderful thing. We know people heal faster and better when they are home and surrounded by supportive family and friends. I want to give a shout out to Dr. Jill Blumenthal for all her hard work over many years fighting to bring better healthcare for us at UC San Diego.
For Trans Youth Rady Children’s Hospital’s GEM Clinic offers many of the same services for youth, utilizing many of the same UCSD doctors and surgeons from the Gender Health Program.
In 2021 the PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll showed that two-thirds of Americans OPPOSE any type of anti-Transgender legislation! That’s two-thirds!!! So, it’s obvious the Republicans, no surprise here, do not actually talk to their constituents or listen when they do. All this vile hate legislation and the push by the Republican lawmakers to incite their citizens to bring this hate into their own smaller communities is really a very small minority. This is what we must hang onto. This is what we can hope for in the future, that these lawmakers will be ousted, and more intelligent and unbiased lawmakers will replace them. The good news is two-thirds, let’s always remember not to pass up opportunities where we can open another heart and mind, until the day we can just live our lives in peace and joy.
Pramila Jayapal Congressional Web page
US Dept. of State Passport Office