Trans People Are an Inseparable Part of the LGBTQ Community | Opinion
I have been working with LGBTQ+ organizations for over 20 years, and I have yet to meet someone who enjoys the ever-changing alphabet soup acronym that has come to represent our community. When I started my career, it was GLBT. Shortly after, it became LGBT, only to transform into LGBTQ, which quickly evolved to LGBTQIA. Now it’s back to LGBTQ+, but most of my colleagues and I skip the letters entirely. Instead, we use the word “queer” as an umbrella term that includes an infinite number of sexual and gender identities. Then again, there are some who are legitimately offended at being called queer, because they remember when it was a cruel insult.
The truth is there is no real consensus about what we call ourselves. If that doesn’t confuse you enough, check out the recent changes to the rainbow flag! But make no mistake about it: The dynamic state of this jumble of letters is constantly in flux because we are trying to make every member of our growing community feel seen and represented. The question is never who does not belong.
Queer identity is so rooted in inclusion that the very process of excluding people is essentially not queer. Which is why it makes little sense when people talk about divorcing trans people from the larger LGBTQ umbrella.
Transgender people have always been a part of the greater LGBTQ+ community and have played an integral role in queer history, queer art, and queer liberation. They share both fate and destiny with the full diversity of queer identities. The mere suggestion that trans people be separated from their LGBQ siblings conveys a gross misunderstanding of why we are a named community in the first place.
Thai Transgender Community Finds its Voice
In recent days, Thailand’s transgender community has surfaced in media reports, covering topics ranging from an offensive IKEA advertisement to a political campaign aimed at the untapped “kathoey” (male-to-female) voting bloc.
Pongsapat Pongcharoen, a U.S.-educated police general from the Pheu Thai Party, launched this sleek, upbeat campaign video on YouTube to appeal to the capital’s ‘third sex’ in his campaign to become Bangkok’s next governor. The video features a cheery mosaic of Bangkok’s demographics, including a number of kathoeys. As the first political campaign video to openly court the transgender vote, it may be a prescient move by Pongcharoen who is ahead in the latest poll.
“Our modern world increasingly accepts varied genders,” the Global Post quotes Pongcharoen as saying in the video message. “Bangkok must be a city that understands sexual differences, not just accepting different lifestyles … it must be a friend to every difference.”
While an exact number is hard to pin down, Thailand’s transgender community is estimated to range from 10,000 to 100,000. This represents a major untapped voting bloc and social force if it can be successfully engaged.
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Navigating Transgender Inclusion Issues in the Workplace
[co-author: Merritt Baria]*
June 15, 2023 marked the three-year anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, holding that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation is sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Bostock v. Clayton Cnty., Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020). To acknowledge the occasion, on June 15, 2023, EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows released the following message, appropriately signed with reference to “her” preferred pronouns:
[E]ven as we celebrate the many accomplishments of the LGBTQI+ community, many of our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members continue to face discrimination at work and in other areas of life because of who they are or who they love. Their strength, resilience, and courage provide an example for all of us as we do our part to prevent unlawful discrimination from occurring and take appropriate action when it does. I look forward to the day when Bostock’s promise is truly a reality in fact as well as in law.