The Most Important LGBTQ Legislation

While human rights legislation with regards to LGBTQ discrimination seems to be moving in the right direction, there is one glaring violation that seems to simply have been swept under the carpet. While same sex marriages have been legalized and the criminal aspect removed from legislation, discrimination in the work place is still a huge issue that needs to be addressed.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act which calls for abolishing discrimination related to sexual orientation in the work place was first defeated by a 7-3 vote by the House Rules Committee. Even though the Act has since been passed by Senate, it still has not been implemented.

This means that employers can still terminate employment due to sexual orientation in 29 states in the United States. In another 19 states, termination of employment can be legally implemented due to sexual identity.

But it isn’t just termination that is the problem with LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace. LGBTQ employees often receive lower compensation for their work, are overlooked for promotions and have no legal standing with regards to harassment or mistreatment in the workplace. The figures for reported cases rise for African American LGBTQ groups as well as for those who are transgender.

Countless human rights and other organizations have been working for a number of years to create the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and it is disheartening that although it has been passed, so little has been done to implement the legislation.

Over and above this, there is still no federal protection for rights discrimination against LGBTQ persons in the workplace. The LGBTQ community simply has no recourse when it comes to infringement of their human rights in the same way heterosexual people do in the workplace.

However, on the plus side, 22 states have already passed laws that make any form of discrimination in the workplace due to sexual orientation illegal. This is a big step in the right direction but much work still needs to be done.

In order for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to finally be implemented, it is important for as many citizens of the United States to show their support for equal rights in the workplace. Trump’s executive order revoking elements of the previous president’s order to ban discrimination due to sexual orientation in the workplace has set matters back even further.

In fact, the order has affected legislation even in states where discrimination due to sexual orientation has been made illegal since it revokes the need for federal and other organizations to comply with the previous order.

Gender Is A Social Construct

Gender is a social construct. The world is always changing, but human beings haven’t changed nearly as much as some people think. There is ample evidence to indicate that societies have had huge changes in things such as morality and community.

Recently, there’s been a huge push against the Victorian era morality that managed to take firm root in European culture and spread across the ocean to the United States. Specifically, there’s been an increasing desire to have so-called “alternative” sexualities and identities. This has led to many people insisting that there are only two genders, male and female.

But is that really true?

The Difference Between Gender And Sex

The first thing to understand is that many people use “gender” when what they mean is “sex”. That is, “male” and “female” are genders, whereas “penis and testes” and “vagina and ovaries” are sex.

What this means in practical terms is that gender is not the same thing as sex. Gender is nothing more than a set of cultural expectations placed upon a person due to some factor. Currently, many people feel the deciding factor is whether a person has a penis or a vagina, and thus insist that only two genders exist.

However, this is quite clearly circular logic. The argument can be summarized as “because there are two genders, there are two genders”. This argument also fails to comment on intersex people (those born with both “male” and “female” genitalia) and androgynous people (those born without fully-formed primary and secondary sexual characteristics).

Given the fact that there are clearly physical sexual characteristics not covered by “male” or “female”, the idea that there are only two genders can be easily proven wrong.

How Many Genders Exist?

The question here of how many genders there really are is that it depends on how many genders a culture wants.

The Navajo culture, as an example, refers to “two-spirit” people. That is people who are not male or female, but contain the spirit of both.

Meanwhile, the Lakota tribe have the “winkte”, people who are born male but assume the traditional roles of the women of the tribe and thus are considered to be no longer men.

There are even signs of transgender people in ancient Egypt, though only by implication. While many archeologists will simply claim that the burial priests accidentally used male burial rituals for females, many others point out that death and burial were so important to ancient Egyptian culture that claiming they would have made such a mistake is ridiculous.

So at the end of the day, the answer is “how many genders does a culture want to have?” There simply isn’t a set number of genders, even though there are only certain combinations of primary and secondary sexual characteristics that appear.

The Difference Between Transgender And Transexual

It’s important to start looking into the differences between transgender and transsexual.

This article is going to point to the difference, so it’s easier to define what each encompasses.

Transgender

Socially constructed genders such as men and women can often leave those who are “transgender” in a conflict.

The premise of being transgender is to work past those socially constructed definitions of gender identity. In this case, the person doesn’t have to pursue a sex change or any form of social transition. In general, there is no “diagnosis” to make unless it is a form of gender dysphoria.

According to studies, transgendered individuals tend to choose between surgery or simple abstinence.

It’s important to note here that this has nothing to do with sexual orientation. A transgendered individual can be straight, gay, bisexual, or any other orientation. These individuals tend to experience signs of depression and anxiety due to their gender identity.

Transsexual

Moving onto the next term, transsexual is different to transgender.

With transexual, the premise is an individual who does not identify with their gender and has an underlying desire to change their gender/sex through operations. In general, most individual who refer to themselves as transsexual will opt for surgery (if possible).

With transsexuals, the emphasis is on a physical problem more than a mental one according to those who are in this situation. It can be difficult for these situations because societal pressure can get in the way of what’s going on in their lives. These individuals can face depression and/or anxiety depending on their setting.

Some experts like to categorize this as being gender dysphoria, but that is disputed by transsexuals.

Transsexual people can be of any sexual orientation including straight, bisexual, gay, and any other form of orientation. This doesn’t play a part in their desire to align with the opposite sex than what they were born into.

This information is pertinent while going through the multiple definitions in the hopes of understanding transgender vs. transsexual. This is a unique conversation and one that is hard to decipher for those who are unaware. This read should have helped shed light on the differences between both sets of individuals and what they go through on a daily basis.

This understanding can help remove or reduce societal pressure on those who are in this position and wish to speak out about who they are and what they represent.