T ransgender Community taking a stand of compassion for our by Justin Tanis, National Center for Transgender Equality T he laws and policies of the federal government have a tremendous impact on all people in the United States, including transgender people. With the swearing in of the new Congress and the new Presidential Administration, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of transgender people and our families. We have made great strides thus far, finding acceptance among family and friends; educating policy makers about the needs for legislation that includes gender identity and expression; working with compassionate and capable health care providers; expanding opportunities in schools and much more. Yet there is still a lot of work to do. Discrimination: Numerous studies have shown that transgender people face disproportionate amounts of discrimination in all areas of life, especially in employment and health care. As the American economy worsens, the discrimination faced by transgender people is becoming even more acute. Often forced into already unstable jobs and careers, and often facing compounding bias because of race or age, the economic wellbeing of transgender people is being challenged today like never before. What can be done about it? One critical step is passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Future legislation will address other civil rights issues, such as public accommodations, housing, credit, education, and federally-funded programs. Hate crimes: Transgender people face well-documented and unconscionable levels of bias-motivated violence. This is especially true of young, lowTRANS continued on page 16 | April 2009 | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition | www.qviewnorthwest.com