A popular anti-trans “gotcha” is to ask, “what rights don’t trans people have?” The question is never asked in good faith, so trans people generally ignore it: it’s the same assholes with the same bullshit all over again shouting “debate me, cowards!” But by not answering it, it enables the bad faith poster to claim that we didn’t respond because we can’t answer.
So let’s answer it. Bear in mind this is a blog post, not a piece of research, so there will be tons of things I’ve missed out.
The rights we have vary from country to country, and many of them are detailed in this annual study. Here’s a more accessible summary of some of the key issues by Katie Montgomerie.
For example in some countries trans people cannot have legal gender recognition without forced sterilisation, a breach of their human rights. Technically that isn’t the case in the UK, but the Gender Recognition Panel’s focus on surgical and hormonal transition – both of which lead to sterilisation – means that in effect, it’s much the same here. Our legal gender recognition also requires a mental health diagnosis even though being trans is not a mental health problem.
In the UK, it’s still legal to force trans and non-binary teens into dangerous and damaging conversion therapy to try and “cure” them.
There are other rights. We do not have the same right to healthcare as you do: NHS waiting lists shouldn’t exceed 18 weeks, but for trans people they are at least two years and in some cases more than four years long. Seven percent of trans people have been refused health care altogether because they are LGBT.
We do not have the same right to safe workspaces as you do. One in eight British trans people has been assaulted at work by a co-worker or customer. Half of trans people hide or disguise their gender identity at work because they fear discrimination.
We do not have the same rights to live free from discrimination and violence. Two in five trans people and three in ten non-binary people have experienced hate crimes because of their gender identity. For younger people the numbers are even higher. Half of us are scared to use public toilets for fear of abuse or assault. 44% of us avoid certain streets because we don’t feel safe.
We do not have the same rights to marry as other people do. Without legal gender recognition we cannot marry in our correct gender.
And crucially, there are rights we supposedly have on paper but do not have in reality. It’s illegal to discriminate against people because of their gender identity but one in three employers say they wouldn’t consider hiring a trans person. 25% of trans people have been discriminated against in housing. 29% of social services users have experienced discrimination. 34% of young trans people have experienced discrimination in social places such as restaurants or bars. One in seven trans students has considered dropping out of university because of their experiences of harassment and discrimination.
Finally, there are the rights we have and that others want to take from us. Here in the UK those rights include the rights set out in the Equality Act. In the US, those rights include the right to basic and even emergency healthcare.
“What rights don’t trans people have” is the bigot equivalent of “what have the Romans ever done for us”. But it’s a lot less amusing.