EDITORIAL: Transgender issues come to a head

Washburn Editorial Staff

There’s no doubt that transgender rights have been in the spotlight for some time now. Hot topics stemming from the transgender community include health insurance coverage of gender reassignment surgery, calling it an “unnecessary procedure”, the frequency of murders of transgender women of color, bathroom rights in public settings and overall acceptance of the transgender community. From these past issues, some good has come to the forefront.

The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of America announced on Jan. 30 that they will allow young transgender boys to finally be a part of the organization. This comes after years of marginalizing the LGBTQA+ community. The Boy Scouts of America lifted their ban on gay leaders and employees in 2015, shortly after the nationwide legalization of same sex marriage. Boy scouts themselves who identify as gay or bisexual have been allowed to join the organization since January of 2014.

This ruling within the Boy Scouts of America comes after an eight-year-old transgender boy, Joe Maldonado, was expelled from the Cub Scouts in December of 2016, after leaders found out that Joe was born female.

The Girl Scouts of America have announced on their website that they do not take a stance on the issue, but have always welcomed all members regardless of gender-identity or orientation.

While some transgender issues are being solved, more are still on the rise.

After the election of President Donald Trump, some states have begun to see an influx of transgender persons wishing to legally change their gender identification. However, the ruling on this change varies from state-to-state, some allowing the legal change to occur with only a Physician’s note, but others only allowing the change to occur after gender reassignment surgery has been performed on the individual. In the state of Kansas, in order for someone to legally change their gender on their birth certificate, their Healthcare provider, or insurance company, must certify the change.

This influx is occurring because LGBTQA+ persons are worried that President Trump will not protect their overall rights. President Trump has not said anything on the issue of protecting the LGBTQA+ community.

As these transgender issues continue to stay relevant in our government and society, it is important for those of us who are allies to stand with transgender persons. We as young college students have a responsibility to stand up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves.

As a campus, we should welcome diversity in all of its many forms. After all, we as a nation are diverse and were built to uphold the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that were given to all people in the Declaration of Independence regardless of nationality, race, sexual orientation, and yes, even gender identity.