15 July 2015
Over the past few days, I’ve written about the most transgender-inclusive companies and the events that seem to be leading toward ending the ban on transgenders serving in the US Armed Forces.
While those are welcome developments, they also indicate how much more needs to be done to approach equality.
For one thing, not everyone—trans or cis, straight or gay, male or female—is suited (pardon the pun) to work in a large corporation or to be in the military. Even those who have the skills, education, talents and temperament to work in such environments may not want to do so. I think that anyone who has something to contribute should find the best avenue for it. And I think that many of understand that not all necessary change comes from working within established institutions or power structures.
Perhaps more to the point, though, it seems to me that the changes corporations are making, and the ones the Armed Forces seem to be in the process of making, will benefit those who are already in those organizations and are embarking upon a gender transition. I’m not sure that much will change for those who have lost jobs, or never had jobs in the first place, because of gender identity or expression. How does the new protocol at Company X or in the Army help young trans women or men who are homeless or doing sex work because their family disowned them or bullies drove them out of school?
Also, I can’t help but to think that most trans people who will benefit from the latest developments are white and come from at least middle-class backgrounds. To be fair, this is probably more true for the corporate world than for the military. But even in the uniformed services, most who would be in a position—that is, those who have attained enough seniority and rank—to serve openly without reprisal are white college graduates.
So, while I am glad that corporations and the Armed Forces are trying to be more open to diversity, I don’t think those who are making the decisions realize how their efforts are skewed—and how much more needs to be done. For that matter, I don’t think most of the public does, either.