“Marriage Equality is Not a Transgender Issue” – HRC’s repeated failure and why I hate that their symbol is becoming the symbol for marriage equality

HRC has a long history of contension with the transgender community. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that at what is, to date, probably the most important development for the fight for marriage equality, that contension once again arose.

At the Supreme Court hearings, where many gay rights supporters had gathered, a transgender pride flag was placed near the podium. HRC reps asked that the transgender flag be removed, claiming that “marriage equality is not a transgender issue”. HRC is claiming that this did not happen and it is not their policy, however people who were actually there say otherwise. (1, 2) One person even claims that the HRC reps continued harassing the person over this flag.

Anyone who thinks that marriage equality doesn’t effect transgender people has NOT been paying attention. Courts repeatedly rule that heterosexual marriages between a transgender and cisgender person are not legally valid, because the transgender person is “really” their birth sex. I’ve seen it claimed that in same-sex marriages that take place before the transgender partner transitions (by which I mean a trans woman marrying a cis woman, or trans man marrying a cis man) will still be valid after the partner’s transition- however I have not seen anything that makes it clear that they would not face problems. Also, when my financial aid department believed that I had legally changed my sex, I was told that I had to apply for financial aid as “single” as the federal government would not acknowledge my marriage- which suggests that legal transition does, in fact, impact your marital status.

The most heartwrenching thing about the marriage situation for transgender people is that these cases almost always come up only when the cisgender spouse dies and their family wants to deny the transgender person what any widow/er has a right to. Instead of being allowed to mourn the death of their loved ones in peace, transgender people are thrown into the public spotlight and have their entire lives and relationship torn apart by bigots. This has happened as recently as 2010 to Nikki Araguz, the appeal to that case is still ongoing. The exact argument against her is that she is “really” a man, and since same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas, their marriage is invalid.

But “marriage equality is not a transgender issue”.

I’m sure that some people would justify this by insisting that all of our problems will go away once same-sex marriage is legal, so transgender people should shut up, sit down, and stop trying to have our problems acknowledged. This is not an acceptable solution, though. Marriage law effects transgender people in ways that it does not and will never effect cis queers, and this needs to be acknowledged.

Marriage equality IS a transgender issue because it is an issue that effects transgender people.

Meanwhile, the HRC symbol is being spread far and wide across the internet as THE symbol for marriage equality. “Equality”? This is an organization that has repeatedly actively excluded transgender people, cutting us out of bills that would offer us protection from discrimination and acknowledge hate crimes against us. But their symbol stands for “equality”. That’s a laugh.


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5 responses to ““Marriage Equality is Not a Transgender Issue” – HRC’s repeated failure and why I hate that their symbol is becoming the symbol for marriage equality

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I thought you might be interested to know that I’ve started a petition to make sure HRC knows they will be held accountable for leaving aside trans folks, and also immigrants (I don’t know if you saw that as well). You can find the petition here: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/united-for-marriage-coalition-apologizes-for-mistreatment-of-trans-and-undocumented-activists-hrc-signs-on-then-denies/politics/2013/03/29/63826
    Please consider signing and passing it on.

    • A petition is a great idea! However, I think you may have sent the wrong link. I’ve read over the link in your comment and it looks like an article, not a petition, I couldn’t find anywhere on it to sign. I’m sorry if I’m just being dense and missing it.

    • Tori Helle

      Not part of the fight?!?!?! Where do you people get off with that one?!?! I have been “part of the fight” since I was 18, way before I even came out I was fighting for LGBT rights! So don’t you sit on your pompous ass and tell me I am not part of the fight!! It would be far more apt if you changed your name to Gay and Lesbian Rights Coalition. Seems to me by the HRC’s long and well documented history of excluding transgender people that HRC apparently doesn’t consider transpeople human? Hey, check you’re history you idiots. Transgender people are the reason why Stonewall happened!!! How dare you suggest that marriage equality does not effect us!! I am so pissed I cannot begin to express the disdain I now have for HRC!!!

  2. alexandria

    HRC wants to get off the fence,many transgenders helped with the same sex marriage laws now its time we repay them with our support against the the perverted voices of these politicians who are happy to take their taxes,let them die for their country, but deny them their basic rights like going to the bathroom without fear of arrest in some states,

  3. Reblogged this on ladyberd.com and commented:
    Excellent post on why people should be skeptical of the HRC’s symbol.

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