On July 25th, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling joined the Derek and Romaine Show to talk about victories and upcoming challenges in the transgender equality movement.
Derek began the discussion with questions on the passage of marriage equality in New York and the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” events which garnered national media attention but, as some suggest, do little for transgender people. Mara agreed that transgender exclusion in DADT repeal was unfortunate, saying that it will take several years to regain the momentum necessary to allow transgender people to serve openly. However, she emphasized that the win in New York is good news for everyone, saying, “All trans people who are in relationships are either in a same-sex relationship or in a relationship which someone will claim is a same-sex relationship, so marriage equality is helpful very much for transgender people as well.” But she also added, “I think sometimes the focus on marriage masks the importance of other issues.”
The past few years have seen a lot of victories for the transgender movement and Mara discussed many of them including identification documentation policy changes, the effort to include transgender people in data collection by the Department of Health and Human Services, and other work at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Labor.
But Mara also cited several challenges that need to be addressed including better access to healthcare and improved employment opportunities for transgender people. Mara also discussed the work being done on identification documentation, saying “I think if we all keep doing the work we’re doing, and if more people get involved on the state level, we are largely going to be able to resolve the identification and documentation problem transgender people have with getting accurate and consistent ID.”
Listen to the full interview below: