Trans Issues That Matter

Chase Strangio is a Staff Attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, who yesterday penned an important article, Call Her Caitlyn But Then Let’s Move on to the Issues Affecting the Trans Community. “To tell Caitlyn’s story with care is to demand justice for trans people.”

Telling [Jenner’s] story with care means using the right name and pronoun, but it also means highlighting the extent to which it is not the typical trans story. Her story can only be told by also telling the stories of the trans people who are struggling to survive systemic discrimination.

Caitlyn Jenner has definitely upgraded the national conversation of what it means to be transgender, and it our hope that she can translate her notoriety into something of value for the whole community by advocating for those not as fortunate as she is.

Largest Trans Rally in DC for healthcare, housing, and employment, a great day Flickr/creative commons

Trans Rally in DC for healthcare, housing, and employment
Flickr/creative commons

Few trans women, or trans men for that matter, have the money and resources for Caityln Jenner’s seamless, 4-star transition. Most live without these resources, and their physical transformations are slow and piecemeal and often dangerous without top-rated medical providers.

Lack of accessibility to, and outright denial of, healthcare for trans people is a major problem whether or not it has anything to do with hormones or sexual reassignment surgery. Even with the expansion of healthcare coverage, basic care for trans-related medical treatment is still not covered. Trans men have died of ob-gyn diseases because of doctors refuse to treat their “lady parts.” Inadequate healthcare is also to blame for the skyrocketing trans suicide and murder rates.

While we can all recognize the positive potential of Jenner’s media-heavy transition, we all should heed Strangio’s advice that we must “[. . . interrogate] our standards for which trans people get to grace the covers of magazines and all the while continuing to keep the health care that brings life to trans people out of reach.”

The glow of Jenner’s story is already dimming, reminding us again to keep our eyes, attention, advocacy, and activism squarely where it belongs, on the people who need, and deserve, it the most.




Alison Gardner