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Beyond Second-Class Citizenship for Transgender People (VIDEO)

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I was so moved by and proud of President Barack Obama's history-making declaration yesterday with this sentence: "For me, personally, I think it's important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think that same-sex couples should be able to get married." This is great news. Marriage equality is indeed an issue for transgender Americans, as well, as evidenced by Littleton v. Prange, and recently by Nikki Araguz's case. But while I believe in and am a huge supporter of marriage equality, as a transgender woman of color, I recognize that there are arguably bigger issues for my trans brothers and sisters, issues like employment and health-care discrimination and violence against transgender people, particularly trans women of color.

This is why I went to Albany, N.Y. Tuesday for Equality and Justice Day. I wanted to lend my voice to the support of the passage of the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA). Many transgender folks are fighting for our lives and basic civil rights all over this country, and to have those rights acknowledged by our legislature in the state of New York right now. For the fifth year in a row, the state assembly has passed GENDA, but the bill has yet to come to the floor for a vote in the Senate. This bill is about acknowledging that trans folks should have the same rights as everyone else. That's all. It's simple. This is America. Equal access and opportunity are what we're supposed to be about.

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