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Nov 28, 2012
We transgender people never have had a good relationship with the Human Rights Campaign, due to them being an organization catering only to the issues which are most important to white, able-bodied, privileged cisgender gay males, in fact, all of HRC’s presidents have been such.
Well, just recently, HRC released a Municipal Equality Index, showcasing cities which have supposed LGBT policies and creating a scorecard based on various city policies or the lack thereof. Well, take a look at what they consider “bonus points”
Logistically, not all criteria are achievable by all cities at this time. Bonus Points are awarded for such criteria so that cities without the capacity to achieve them are not penalized.
-Grossing Up of Employee Benefits
-Health Benefits are Transgender Inclusive
-Municipality is a Welcoming Place to Work
What, may I ask, makes it unfeasible for cities to make their health benefits trans* inclusive? It can’t be cost, because when Portland, Oregon made their benefits trans inclusive, it was projected to only cost a fraction of a percent of the total municipal healthcare budget. While the MEI does receive some credit for weighting non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity equally (and basing it on housing, employment, and public accomodations equally), the only benefits which are in the non-bonus scoring criteria are related to domestic partnerships.
I have always held, due to my belief that anti-discrimination must be a greater priority than marriage equality, that the single person must be made whole before they embark on a relationship with someone else, and that in terms of the sphere of public policy, the same consideration should be made. Not to knock domestic partner benefits (after all, I identify as a lesbian), but the criteria for a perfect score tends to privilege relationships over a single individual’s needs. I myself believe that the heavy weighting towards the cis-LGB issues not only signifies trans* erasure, but is also ableist as well (due to numerous mental issues that will not be discussed here, I will admit very openly that I am in no position for a relationship).
One must also consider issues of homelessness as well. Not only do trans* people suffer in a shelter system which is often transphobic, but cis-LGB couples and even singles also face significant prejudice in the system. I believe that those cities that have affirming policies addressing the issue need to be given points as well, and other issues which are too numerous to name here.
Right now, here in Philadelphia, the cis-LGB portion of our community are over the moon that we got such a high score (100 points). However, there is a lot of work to be done, and this publication may hinder the work that needs to be done due to complacency generated by such a compliment.
-Jordan Gwendolyn Davis