A Watershed Year for Trans Rights

SFBayTimes.com – By Jacob Anderson-Minshall

Following on the footsteps of a watershed year, 2006 saw increased visibility and political gains for the U.S. trans community. Here are some examples:

1. With the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act, California became the first state to outlaw gay panic or trans panic defenses to justify violence.

2. Several jurisdictions, including Washington?s Metropolitan King County (Seattle), and Boise, Idaho added gender identity to anti-discrimination laws.

3. Although the passage of anti-discrimination laws are significant, a Transgender Law Center study suggested they may not be enough to impact the economic health of local trans communities. Despite a decade of San Francisco anti-discrimination laws, nearly 60 percent of respondents reported experiencing employment discrimination and earning below $15,300 annually.

4. Half a dozen transwomen ran for election this year and attorney Kim Coco Iwamoto was elected to Hawaii?s Board of Education, becoming the nation?s highest ranking openly trans official.

5. The New York Times published a piece on lesbians who transition to male. The article was flawed but it was one of the few times the world?s most respected newspaper covered FTMs issues.