It is no secret that I have been somewhat critical of the lack of attention the government has given to work place discrimination and the lack of progress on The Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I believe that it is not only our right to question our leaders, the people we hire to represent us, but it is our duty. With another opportunity missed in the State of the Union, I felt compelled to take my concerns directly to the President of the United States. What follows is a letter that I will be putting in mail addressed to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Dear Mr. President,
Let me first congratulate you on your election to a second term in the Oval Office. This last November was the first time, as best as I can recall, I voted Democrat. The defining issue that swayed my decision was your public support of marriage equality and your willingness to meet and work with representatives of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
But if I am going to be completely honest, with all due respect Sir, I am disappointed in you Mr. President. Opportunity after opportunity has past by with out the White House going far enough to help and protect the transgender community. Though the Affordable Care Act helps protect the LGBT from discrimination from the medical community, it does not require, as best I can tell, insurance plans to cover reassignment surgery or other medically necessary procedures for the transgender individual. You included the controversial “day-after pill” but not to include medically necessary treatment and procedures for transgender individuals seems to continue the discrimination against my community. I understand that the costs of these procedures are tax-deductible, but when these procedures can cost tens of thousands of dollars, where do individuals like myself find the funds in the first place?
Another area this government and your office has failed the transgender community repeatedly is in the area of work place discrimination. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has sat in committee for far too many years with out the proper attention it deserves. Since the Equality Act of 1974, Congress has failed to act to protect the LGBT community from discrimination in the work place and the White House has let it. I understand the separation of powers in this country, but right now, is it not important for the Executive and the Legislative branch work together to end discrimination of all the people?
Right now, today in America, a land that claims that all men (and women) are created equal, in a land that has fought for over two centuries for the civil rights and the freedom of all persons, there are still individuals that face discrimination on a daily basis. When will the day come that there is not one American that feels like a second class citizen?
I am fortunate to live in a state that has had more foresight than the Federal government to pass a Bill of Rights protecting the LGBT community. But I am in the minority of a minority. Because Congress and the White House have not done enough to protect us, it is still legal in nearly two thirds of this country to fire a transgender person just for being transgender.
Transgender individuals are being segregated and forced to use other rest rooms and changing facilities rather than being allowed to use the facilities that correspond to their gender presentation. When segregation is not an option, transgender women, in some cases, are put into humiliating and potentially dangerous situations by being forced to deny their own gender and continue to use the men’s restroom and changing facilities.
This is not a state-by-state issue. This is a national issue that needs a national solution.
Mr. President, you had perfect opportunities in three debates and the State of the Union address to call on Congress to move forward with ENDA, yet you let those opportunities slip by. We need this legislative solution! We do not need to hear from your press secretary. We need to hear from you. I need to hear from you Mr. President. I need to see your face and hear your voice stand up for the end to work place discrimination for the LGBT community. I need to hear your voice calling on Congress to step up, put their differences and ignorance aside, educate themselves and pass a bill that will ensure that all it’s citizens are treated equally.
Sincerely and God Bless,
Trans Girl at the Cross
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