In 2014, and so far in 2015, there have been several legal, social media, and entertainment-related successes for the transgender community, proving what many of us have thought all along, Transgender rights matter. These successes were not without some wake up calls too, alerting us to the fact that as a nation we have a lot of self-educating to do, even within the LGBT community. Before I started writing this, I checked out GLAAD’s media reference page for transgender-related issues, which I found helpful in clarifying certain definitions and uses of terms–making sure you know what you’re talking about, and in the right ways, can only help increase your level of respect, especially as terms and definitions evolve.
While progress is being made in accepting, understanding, and supporting transgender people, and explicitly granting them their legal rights, they continue to experience severe disadvantages. Transgender people are disproportionately affected by hate crimes, especially transgender women, and face high levels of discrimination and poverty. The American Medical Association states that treatment for gender dysphoria is medically necessary, but insurance companies treat transition-related medical care as cosmetic. And while the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was repealed, it only applied to lesbian, gay, and bisexual personnel, so transgender people are still prohibited from serving in the military.