For transgender individuals and their allies, 2013 was a year filled with progress. As Parker Marie Molloy lists for The Advocate, “California’s School Success and Opportunity Act was signed into law, ‘Orange is the New Black’ became a binge-worthy powerhouse, the United States Senate passed the first trans-inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Chelsea Manning made us reach for the style guides, and the story of Coy Mathis took the world by storm,” of the many milestones that filled the past twelve months.
The Huffington Post created a roundup of the 10 Transgender Wins of 2013 You Should Know About, which details some of the aforementioned instances of trans* progress made this past year. Mara Keisling, the Founding Executive Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, compiled the list, which champions the biggest wins in legislature, visibility, and evolving social norms for transgender individuals. In 2013, when Congress passed the first explicitly LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination law as part of the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act, it became one of the year’s first major milestones for transgender people and their rights. This law protects LGBT people from discrimination in places such as domestic violence or rape crisis shelters.
Another major win for the transgender community was when the U.S. Senate voted 2-1 for workplace protections in the transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Such triumphs reveal the way that social perception of transgender people is changing. One factor that may have helped put more pressure on lawmakers is the fact that, according to Keisling, 2013 was a record year of visibility for transgender individuals. Coy Mathis, Chelsea Manning, Lana Wachowski, and Laverne Cox are just a few names among many that courageously opened up to the world to share their stories. Suddenly, there was more dialogue taking place about transgender people, their families, and their experiences, something that has definitely helped with social understanding of how complicated and wonderful each person’s own unique gender identity is.
These are just a handful of the major steps towards universal equality for the trans* community made in 2013. What do you think some of the biggest milestones were?