02 April 2014

When An Enemy Of Trans People Is A Friend of Labor (Or So He Thinks)

A colleague is petitioning the college to build or designate transgender bathrooms.  "A male-to-female is taking her life into her hands when she goes into a men's bathroom!," she exclaimed.

"Tell me about it!"  I didn't go into detail, but I told her about an incident early in my transition in which a security guard harassed and outed me for using a women's bathroom.

The problems of shared public space are not, of course, limited to bathrooms.  In many other venues, the risk to transgenders of incurring violence or worse is great when they are forced to use facilities intended for the gender in which they are not living.  Though the dangers are more pronounced for male-to-female transgenders, female-to-males are not immune.

For trans people, perhaps no place is more dangerous than a jail or prison.  Almost everyone, except for the most physically intimidating, is potentially a victim of rape or other kinds of violent assault.  If a male-to-female is incarcerated with men, the warden may as well attach a target to her back.

That is why Texas Governor Rick Perry's refusal to comply with the Federal Rape Prevention Act is unconscionable.  

One of his rationales is that a provision of the act prohibits cross-gender searches.  About 40 percent of all guards in male prisons are female.  So, according to Perry, turning the Act into a law "may mean the loss of job and promotion opportunities".  

Ah, yes.  Rick Perry is a friend of labor.  So much that he has to compromise the lives of trans people.

And to think that he ran for President!

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