From Transgender Health Coordinators:
Many mainstream people in Asheville have a profound lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender. Consequently, transgender people commonly face a wide variety of discriminatory barriers to full equality. Transgender people sometimes face difficulties meeting their basic needs (getting a job, housing, or health care) or in having their gender identity respected (like in the simple act of going to a public restroom).
Much of the discrimination transgender people face mirrors that experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but is often more severe. Additionally, transgender people face a range of legal issues that LGB people rarely do: in Buncombe County obtaining identity documents and name change is almost impossible, sex-segregated public restrooms and other facilities, dress codes that perpetuate traditional gender norms, and barriers to access to appropriate health care.
With Asheville being to home to a huge transgender community that is growing by the week, it is exciting that the ACLU is coming to discuss their work on advancing transgender rights. They will provide an overview of gender identity-focused ACLU initiatives around the country as well as projects specific to North Carolina and Asheville. In addition, they will solicit feedback on how the ACLU of North Carolina should further develop its advocacy in the area of transgender rights. Legal issues that will be discussed include access to proper identification documents, access to health care, transgender voting rights, and antidiscrimination protections.
Local transgender activists from the Phoenix Transgender Support Group, Western North Carolina Community Health Services transhealth program and TransHealth Coordinators will be at the meeting to bring focus to local concern.
The meeting is set for 7:30pm June 20th at the Haywood Street Congregational Church located at 297 Haywood St in Asheville along with a 6:45 pm “meet & greet” community meal being sponsored by TransHealth Coordinators at the same location prior to the meeting.
The ACLU fights to eradicate discrimination against transgender people because it is so pervasive and harmful. Moreover, they believe that the struggles against anti-LGB and anti-transgender discrimination are best waged collaboratively. Much of the discrimination faced by transgender people comes from the same place as does anti-gay discrimination: LGBT people challenge society’s norms on how men or women “should” act (in their gender expression and in the relationships they form). Truly eliminating LGBT discrimination depends on eradicating gender stereotypes, and fighting gender identity discrimination does that directly. And it is time that the local transgender community here in Asheville had their voice heard!