Filed under: Transgender Rights
By Jacob Combs
ThinkProgress reports that the American Psychiatric Association has published a new official position regarding care for transgender and gender non-conforming men and women. In this year’s edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-V), transgender status will no longer be classified as “Gender Identity Disorder,” but rather as “Gender Dysphoria.” The APA’s new position reads as follows:
The American Psychiatric Association:
1. Recognizes that appropriately evaluated transgender and gender variant individuals can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments.
2. Advocates for removal of barriers to care and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender transition treatment.
3. Opposes categorical exclusions of coverage for such medically necessary treatment when prescribed by a physician.
The American Psychiatric Association:
1. Supports laws that protect the civil rights of transgender and gender variant individuals.
2. Urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against transgender and gender variant people.
3. Opposes all public and private discrimination against transgender and gender variant individuals in such areas as health care, employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and licensing.
4. Declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.
The APA’s move is an extremely important one, since it represents the scientific consensus of one of America’s most important mental health groups, and as such is taken seriously by the courts when cited in litigation. In the face of so many who continue to smear LGBT individuals with untrue arguments about the dangers of homosexuality and gender non-conformity, having scientific organizations like the APA on our side gives the lie to those falsehoods. And, as we’ve written about on this site, language matters, so moving away from the negatively tinged “Gender Identity Disorder” is a positive development for transgender Americans.
By Jacob Combs
This Saturday, the Democratic Party’s full platform committee, a body of around 120 Democrats, approved draft platform language that includes a full-fledged endorsement of marriage equality. The marriage language was accepted without dissent and with little debate, a sign of just how established the position has become in the party since President Obama announced his personal support of marriage equality in May.
Last Thursday, BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner exclusively reported on the draft platform language established by the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee, which read:
We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference.
We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
Also included in the draft language (and also reported by Geidner) is an endorsement of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit hiring and firing based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and language regarding bullying and support for LGBT youth. The platform’s immigration reform section was amended as well to include new language which reads: “the administration has said that the word ‘family’ in immigration includes LGBT relationships in order to protect binational families threatened with deportation.”
The approved platform will be sent to delegates for a final vote at the Democratic National Convention, which will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina from September 3-6.
By Scottie Thomaston
Buzzfeed has the news that in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, discrimination against people who are transgender will be banned. The Department of Health and Human Services will investigate complaints of anti-transgender discrimination. The decision to investigate discrimination complaints doesn’t discuss transition-related healthcare, but it is a step to getting that care.
In response to a letter sent by a dozen LGBT health and advocacy organizations to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in June, Leon Rodriguez — the director of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights — wrote on July 12 HHS considers discrimination based on “gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity” in federal health programs or activities receiving funding under Affordable Care Act-covered programs to be illegal.
In the letter, obtained by BuzzFeed, Rodriguez agreed with the groups’ assessment that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Obama’s health care law prohibited discrimination against transgender people and stated that his office would investigate any complaints of such discrimination.
This new development stems from the recent EEOC ruling that discrimination against people who are transgender is sex discrimination. The decision backs up government agencies’ attempts to restrict anti-transgender discrimination.
That decision was Macy v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.