Government-Issued IDs: A Barrier to the Vote, A Barrier to Emergency Contraception
Published in partnership with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
This past election cycle, we saw the power a government-issued ID can give an individual. In states where voter ID laws were being enforced, individuals who did not have government IDs could not exercise their right to vote. Several communities were adversely affected: transgender people, Latinos, African Americans, students, the elderly, people with disabilities — in short, many, many people. These ID laws harken back to Jim Crow-era poll taxes and “literacy tests,” and at the same time increased the impact of fear tactics used to intimidate voters from going to the polls, exacerbating the historic and current inequities that many communities of color face.
Voting ID laws, and voter suppression in general, also have a unique impact on women of color. Recently, the Center for American Progress issued a report that shows how voter suppression denies justice for women of color. The report finds that many people who are eligible to vote don’t have the appropriate identification they would need to do so, and that this disproportionately impacts people of color — and particularly women of color. While only eight percent of white voters lack proper identification, 25 percent of African American and 16 percent of Latino voters do not possess the needed identification to vote according to these laws.
Have We Evolved in Our View of Transgender People?
Like most people, the sum of who I am is much more than my individual traits. However, there is one fact about me that puts me way outside the mainstream. It’s that I’m a tran-sgender woman.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Massachusetts judge ordered prison officials to provide sex-reassignment surgery for a murder convict.
The piece started by talking about a transgender woman who used to meet in dark parking lots with other transgender people for support. “How things have changed since then for transgender men and women in America, who have made great strides in recent years toward reaching their ultimate goal: to be treated like ordinary people,” the piece noted.
I agree, strides have been made. But “great” grossly overstates the reality. Discrimination and misunderstanding is still rampant. I frequently feel that I’m assigned to a class of sub-humans. Even the judge who ordered the surgery said it was to treat “gender-identity disorder.” As a society, we still view transgender people as being against the natural order and place the blame on our minds, rather than where the real problem is: our incorrect bodies.