The Nonchoices: Prejudice
Societal prejudice against transgender people is pervasive. Rates of harassment, discrimination, and violence against transgender people are high, and most cities and states offer limited protection to transgender individuals who experience prejudice or violence.23 Even in locations with protections, the existence of punitive laws only discourages discrimination, it does not prevent it. For example, transgender people may be leery of transitioning on the job out of fear of termination, even in states that have employment nondiscrimination laws, because cases of discrimination are legally hard to prove and expensive to pursue.
MTFs are often nervous about being alone in public, concerned that they will be taunted, beaten, or even killed for simply walking down the street. FTMs may avoid locker rooms because they fear violence in these highly gendered and physically vulnerable spaces. Genderfluid individuals may not know when they will be confronted with "What are you?" proclaimed by a convenience store clerk.
Prejudice, harassment, and violence emerge in all aspects of life: on the job, in health care settings, in interactions with law enforcement, at home, at school, on the streets. When individuals are transgender and are members of other minorities, they are at even higher risk.
Slowly, transgender individuals are gaining more legal rights as well as greater societal understanding and acceptance. Unfortunately, prejudice against transgender individuals and their loved ones is still overwhelmingly powerful and is almost always outside of a transgender person's control.