Discrimination Against Transgendered People In America
"Reprinted with Permission from ICTLEP, the International Conference on Transgender
Law and Employment Policy, PO Drawer 1010, Cooperstown, NY 13326, 607-547-4118,
e-mail at email@example.com, America On Line Keyword ICTLEP, web page
www.abmall.com/ictlep". "Index" of transgender legal articles from five years of annual
conferences available on AOL keyword and web page.
What does 'Transgendered' Mean?
A 'transgendered' person is someone whose gender identity or expression differs from
conventional expectations of masculinity or femininity. For most people, there is no
conflict or incongruity between their physical sex and their internal psychological
identification as male or female. For transgendered people, however, their gender identity
is in conflict with their physical sex, and thus their gender expression or physical
characteristics may differ from their sex as assigned at birth. Although transgendered
people have been part of every culture and society in recorded human history, they have
only recently been the focus of medical science. There is a broad consensus among
medical researchers that transgenderism is rooted in complex biological factors that are
fixed at birth. This research confirms what transgendered people know and experience on
a much more personal basis: being transgendered is not a choice nor a "lifestyle," but a
difficult, uninvited challenge.
Who are Transgendered People?
Transgendered persons include pre-operative and post-operative transsexuals,
transgenderists (persons living full-time in a gender other than their birth sex with no
desire to pursue surgery); transvestites (preferred term: crossdressers, those whose gender
expression occasionally differs from their birth sex); "mannish" or "passing" women,
whose gender expression is masculine and who are often assumed to be lesbians,
although this is not necessarily the case; "feminine" men who are often assumed to be
homosexual, although they are just as often heterosexual; and intersexed persons, whose
sex was arbitrarily assigned after birth and who often manifest physical characteristics,
expression or identity that differs from the sex assigned without their consent.
Are Transgendered People Gay?
Most people do not understand that gender identity and sexual orientation are two
different aspects of human sexuality. Gender identity involves a person's internal sense of
being male or female, whereas sexual orientation involves those to whom one is attracted.
Transgendered people have the same range of sexual orientations as non-transgendered
people: most are heterosexual, and a smaller percentage are homosexual or bisexual.
Despite this reality, transgendered people are almost universally perceived to be