Monday, March 27, 2006

Transgendered Individuals and the Law

Long before the popularity of Transamerica and Buck Angel (talk about your 21st Century Porn Star!) I have always had a special place in my heart for Transgenedered individuals. Unfortunately throughout my years of practice, I have seen over and over again just how unkind the law can be to this segment of our community.

My first trial as an attorney involved a "community" of individuals who sued the parents of a Transgendered individual for allowing her to live in their house. They called her presence a "nuisance" to the community at large; and attempted to use a law to prevent crack house property owners from allowing "undesirable" individuals on their property. I am still amazed at how society treats these individuals who already are putting up with psychological stress and strain few of us will ever encounter.

I have found that many Transgendered individuals often tollerate discrimination in employment and housing needlessly; as Transgendered individuals are often also covered by the same laws Gays and Lesbians rely upon.

Additiionally I have found that many Transgendered individuals often get entangled in the criminal justice system and often do not have the resources or support system to fight their way out. My office has always been open to these individuals for counsel and help.

In the event you are Transgendered and facing any jail time, Los Angeles County does segregate Transgendered (as well as Gay) inmates from the general population. Its also important to know that many drug, alcohol, domestic violence and other court ordered progams are out there that will accomodate the Transgendered Community. It is important to search these programs out and not simply tolerate intolerance.

Additionally, if you are court ordered into community service its important to know that this can be done with many Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Organizations; however many times this has to be worked out with the court ahead of time. Also if you are ordered to do Cal Trans as part of your sentence; you may want to have the court know you are transgendered as the court may allow you to convert this to regular community service.

It is important to know that Transgendered individuals no longer have to tolerate social intolerance. However, in order to benefit from the programs and laws that are out there to help the Transgendered Community it is up to you to take full advantage of these and the resources the we all fought so hard to establish.


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