In recent history, we’ve seen the LGBT community make tremendous progress in their acquisition of rights.
However, the last letter of that acronym is often forgotten — transgender individuals barely have civil rights. In the past year, I have come out as a transgender woman and found Bloomington to be a very welcoming community, unlike much of Indiana.
Many people are surprised to hear that it is legal to fire someone for being transgender in almost all of the state. Not only that, but transgender individuals aren’t even considered a protected class by the state so it is legal to discriminate against them.
The only protection offered is by two counties and four cities throughout the state: Monroe and Marion Counties — which include Bloomington and Indianapolis — and Evansville, West Lafayette, South Bend and New Albany. These localities have added their own protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.
My hometown of Fort Wayne unfortunately did not make the list. My mother has constantly urged me to move home after college, but I can’t justify living in a place where I’m not recognized as a person with the most basic civil rights. It seems hopeless to try and stay in this state, but in the meantime, I’m sorry, Mom, I’ve got to stay in Bloomington.