Language is continually evolving to correctly communicate the speaker’s intention. A word can have many messages both through literal definition and social contacts. Queer language has become more specific.
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Contributing to this shift in language, some parts of society have becoming more understanding of the LGBT+ community. despite the recent acceptance there is still confusion surrounding transgender people. A transgender person is someone whose gender identity is different than their male/female reproductive system at birth. This term does not have anything to do with sexual orientation, gender expression or physical anatomy. Transgender and transsexual have a different meaning. Transsexual suggests a person who has gone through a sex reassignment surgery.
On the federal level the courts have stated that discrimination against gender identity is historically not covered under the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination against sex. Recently in 2012, the court has extended the definitional of discrimination against sex to include gender identity and in 2014, Eric Holder the US Attorney General stated that he agreed with this decision. As of now there are no comprehensive set of laws that protect transgender people. Selective states (California, Connecticut Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Vermont) have altered discrimination law to protect Transgender people. Gender dysphoria is excluded from disability laws except for California.
the Transgender Law Center in California, published Know Your Rights: Transgender People at Work that answered 14 commonly asked question. Employees should have safe access to bathrooms that match their gender identity. An alternative is to use a single bathroom if the transgender person feels more comfortable or if another employee does not want to use the same bathroom with a transgender person. California protects transgender citizens from harassment that includes, but is not limited to deliberately and repeatedly calling employee by the incorrect name and pronoun. California recognizes common law name changes but does require a court order to change name on managerial records such as payroll and security clearance. Potential employers may require a background check, and therefore require all previous name used to get a through assurance of character. As a result, employers will likely find out about a prospective employee’s transgender status. Medical information is protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and employees are not required to disclose if or where they are transitioning, although it is advisable to coordinate with management to create a transition plan and discuss medical leave.
If a person is discriminated against because they are transgender they should first try to use the internal complaints process. The next step is to file a dual complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the Equal Employment Commissions (EEOC). In October, the Health and Human Service Department stated they were considering limiting the scope of the Civil Rights act to exclude gender identity from the definition of sexual discrimination. If the new presidential memo goes through, 1.4 million self-identifying transgender American adults will be affected.
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