In 2007, NCTE is highlighting the human rights needs of transgender people. Each month, we'll look at a fundamental issue that relates to our lives; in some places, we are making significant progress in human rights for transgender people, while in other areas, there is still much work to be done.
Each calendar can be printed out and hung on your wall to help people learn about human rights for transgender people and to show your support for transgender equality. Download this month's calendar today!
The opportunity to work is a fundamental aspect of human rights. By working, people sustain themselves and their loved ones. We can gain dignity and self-worth through our employment, and our work can even contribute to the wellbeing of the larger world. People have the right to work in safe and fair conditions and for equal pay.
Transgender people continue to face extensive discrimination in employment, often being unable to find work in our fields of expertise or losing jobs due to prejudice. Unemployment and underemployment are among the greatest challenges facing us.
Yet we are making progress. In the United States, more than one-third of Americans live in a jurisdiction that bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression in the workplace. This year, we hope to have a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) introduced into the United States Congress. Every week, companies are adding gender identity and expression to their employee policies. It is vital that we continue to strive for the day when all people are free to work.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Article 23.
Please click here to download the January calendar.
The right to express ourselves in loving relationships—with friends, family and significant others—is essential to human life. All people have the right to love whomever they wish, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, and to be loved in return.
Transgender people can legally marry an opposite gender partner in almost every state but today these marriages are not always respected. People in same sex relationships continue to face legal barriers to marriage in almost every part of the country. The right to have and protect our personal relationships should not be based on our gender or the gender of our partners.
At NCTE, we believe that all people have the right to loving relationships, however they define them.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16
Please click here to download the February calendar.
All people have the right to care that promotes and sustains their health. Transgender people face serious challenges in accessing basic healthcare as well in receiving treatment that addresses transgender-specific medical needs.
After hearing about trans people who have died as a result of medical neglect, transgender people are rightly concerned that emergency providers will refuse to treat us in our most vulnerable moments. We face simple ignorance or blatant prejudice in emergency rooms, counseling centers and doctors’ offices, leading many of us to fail to get the preventive or urgent healthcare we need.
Inexcusably, most insurance companies specifically exclude transgender-related care from their policies. Yet some fair-minded employers and municipalities are working to find ways to cover trans-related healthcare. Increasing numbers of emergency service providers, medical personnel and mental healthcare workers are receiving training to increase their sensitivity and knowledge about our needs. Transgender people are also organizing to provide manuals, conferences, and working groups to address this critical issue.
Health care reform needs to be at the heart of our movement.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25
Please click here to download the March calendar.
Housing is much more than a roof over our heads. Our homes are places that keep us protected from the elements, can be the center of our family lives and provide us with a sense of security. People need safe and sanitary places in which to live. Everyone should have equal access to buying, renting and keeping a home.
Sadly, discrimination based on gender identity and expression in housing and public accommodations is still not banned in most of the United States. Transgender people continue to face hostile landlords; mortgage lenders may look askance at people who have changed their names. In public places, transgender people have been asked to leave for no other reason than that they were different.
Fortunately, an increasing number of places are changing their civil rights codes to include gender identity and expression as a protected category for housing and public accommodation. We need to insure that people of all genders are free to live where they wish to, in safe, affordable housing and to enjoy the same rights in public as the rest of the population.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 12, 17 and 25.
Please click here to download the April calendar.
The right to be ourselves—it is vital for transgender people. We believe that all people have the right to express their gender, in all of the ways that they may experience it, through their clothing, their appearance, their internal thoughts and feelings, and in their bodies. Other people cannot determine our genders for us; it is a unique dimension of who we are and who we know ourselves to be.
For too many years, alternate gender identities and expressions have been categorized as pathological, criminal, or deviant. But differences in gender expression are part of the range of human experiences and vary widely by culture.
We affirm the right of all people to express their personhood and their unique identities. We all have the right to say who we are in this world.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18-19
Please click here to download the May calendar.
All people have the right to be treated equally under the law and to be free from arbitrary decisions by the government and its agents. Everyone deserves equal access to the processes of justice and the protections offered by law enforcement. People should live free from the terror of torture and physical coercion by their governments. And all people should be given a fair and equitable trial if they have been accused of wrong doing. These are among the most fundamental human rights statements from the international community.
Transgender people have been singled out for unfair treatment at times. Our genders have been put on trial, rather than the facts of the case in question. Police officers have misused or even fabricated laws that crossdressing is illegal or inappropriately decided that an alternative gender expression is a sign of mental illness. Courts have used gender identity or expression as a reason to deny parents access to their own children. Transgender people of color have experienced this unfair treatment by the legal system to an even greater degree because of the racism they encounter.
All people, of all identities and expressions, deserve to be treated equally under the law. Transgender people share in the same rights to a fair trial, to protection from harm and to justice as all others in the land.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 7-15
Please click here to download the June calendar.
People have the right to be free. Freedom encompasses many things, including the ability to speak your mind, the right to express yourself, the possibility to move where you want to go, the freedom of religion, and a sense of individual liberty.
Transgender people are making progress in securing our freedom. There are more transgender voices in the public arena and greater opportunities for self-expression, yet our freedom is also curtailed by ongoing violence and discrimination. Our transgender status may form a barrier to immigration or our ability to move freely in public spaces. Our opinions are discounted because of who we are. We may be condemned in communities of faith. In spite of these conditions, we are continuing to speak our truth.
Transgender people-like all people-have the right to be free. This month, speak your mind, go where you want to go, be who you are. Be free.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 1-6
Please click here to download the July calendar.
Violence is a devastating force in our world. It not only directly interferes with our human rights but it breeds fear that lowers our quality of life. People have the right to live free from violence in our communities, on our streets and in our homes.
Transgender people continue to face epidemic levels of hate-motivated violence. We are the targets of violent speech, physical force and ongoing harassment. Far too many transgender people are murdered simply because of who they are. Law enforcement has inadequate means to record, track or counteract this trend and sometimes is the problem, rather than the solution.
Despite these roadblocks, increasing numbers of local, state and federal governments are working to address hate crimes. We must continue to work on changing laws and on transforming the prejudice and fear that lead to violence.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 3-4
Please click here to download the August calendar.
Education is a fundamental human right. As human beings, we have a desire to learn and to expand our horizons. Education is vital to our ability to make a living, no matter our trade. Education also helps us become critical thinkers, able to discern the world in all of its intricacies.
Transgender children, teens and adults face enormous barriers to accessing the education offered in our country. Bullying in schools creates a hostile environment making learning very difficult. Educators may be ignorant of the needs of transgender young people. We may be denied admission to schools because of prejudice.
Increasing numbers of schools, however, are adding gender identity to their non-discrimination policies and are adding gender neutral restrooms and locker rooms to their facilities. Teachers are learning about transgender students and organizations like Gay-Straight Alliances are creating safe spaces for transgender young people in schools. Ensuring that our community members have the same rights to an education as all other people is extremely important for our movement.
See United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26
Please click here to download the September calendar.
Transgender people have the right to express ourselves and to participate in cultural life. We have the right to create works of art that reflect our transgender experience and to write, draw, think, speak, act and paint whatever we wish. We also should be free to participate in events that reflect our heritage, without the interference of prejudice. We need the space to create our own unique culture as well as the opportunity to have our work viewed through a wider lens. We are human beings and artists, not “just” transgender people.
We have the right to create works of beauty, inspiration and challenge and to be a part of the creation of human culture in all parts of the globe.
Please see Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27
People have the right to participate in making decisions about how life will be in our local communities. They have the right to vote and to participate freely in the public realm. Our government relies on people’s willingness to seek elected office, to serve as public safety officers, to volunteer, and to make the places we live and work better.
Transgender people face barriers to voting when it is challenging to get identification that fits our gender identity. It can be difficult to change voter registration to reflect an accurate name and gender marker. Transgender people face discrimination when applying for jobs as public servants, as police officers and firefighters. Only a handful of transgender people have been elected to office.
Yet, there are now increasing numbers of transgender candidates for office and more and more fire and police departments ban discrimination based on gender identity. Transgender people volunteer in all kinds of capacities. Transgender people have the right to participate in the civic life of our country.
Please see Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 21
The idea that all people have certain rights—among them, the right to freedom, dignity, self-expression, and the basic necessities of life—is fundamental to our understanding of the world as modern people. It is a radical idea in the history of the world but also critical to finding our way past the violence and injustices that continue to plague the human community.
Transgender people also claim these rights as our own. We have the right to be included in discussions of human rights and to have the special issues of gender identity addressed as human rights concerns. We must be included in conversations and actions that seek to further the cause of human rights and strengthen the protections offered to all people. We claim that we, too, have a place at the table. This also means that we as a community must do all that we can to include others, to be sure that the human rights of all people are protected and valued. By claiming human rights for all people, we create a safer, freer and better world for all of us.
See United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights.