For most people, when a conversation about civil rights comes up, they think automatically about the 1960's when the civil rights of black Americans and women were at the forefront of political discourse. Today, well into the second decade of the 21st century, we are faced with a new question. As sexuality and gender identity become more fluid, what does it mean to ensure the civil rights of ALL citizens?
The definition of civil rights as found in Wikipedia is "Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the society and state without discrimination or repression."
One of the pivotal arguments that won in the 1960's stated that the federal government should sign legislation and create policy for civil rights around the country because states, particularly those with a history of discrimination, could not be trusted to protect all citizens.
This brings me to the policy that was recently overturned requiring that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. One study estimates that there are approximately 150,000 13 to 17 year old young people who identify as transgender. Do you understand this as a civil rights issue? If so, should any civil rights issues be left to local communities and states to "protect"?
These are just a few questions we should all be thinking about when we show love, respect and admiration for our brothers and sisters in the Trans community.