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Transgender Individuals Recognized For First Time Ever In A State Of The Union Speech

 

“That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.”

Huffington Post

“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained,” said Obama, adding, “That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgenderWe do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”

President Obama has mentioned transgender individuals in public speeches before, and is the first president to do so. Transgender rights are rapidly becoming a key political and social topic as the Trans* community has been gaining visibility over the past few years. In 2009, Chastity Bono legally changed his name to Chaz after undergoing gender transition. There has been a notable increase in media surrounding Trans* topics including Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and Amazon’s award-winning Transparent. Expect to see more conversation involving Transgender rights as candidates for the 2016 presidential election begin to emerge.

Last December,  Attorney General Eric Holder announced protection for transgender workers in public employment. President Obama also referred to marriage as “a civil right,” just days after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the issue.

Last May the Spokane City Council added Trans* to it’s human rights ordinance to be in line with the state’s non-discrimination classifications. Transgender people were left off the Spokane ordinance in order for it to pass in 1999.

Note: The spelling of Trans* (with the asterisk) is an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum.

 

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