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Gender Identity, Gender Expression & Trans rights in Oregon handbook released

Basic Rights Oregon just released a free handbook, Know Your Rights: Gender Identity, Gender Expression & Trans Oregonians’ Rights that can help gender non-conforming folks know what we are entitled to. Authored by Oregon attorneys, this guide provides in-depth information on laws and policies that deeply impact transgender Oregonians. Topics include identification, housing, family law, employment, health care and more.

This guide is meant to share general legal information to help transgender, genderqueer and gender non-conforming Oregonians understand their rights. Basic Rights Education Fund is not a law firm. Laws can also change, and are often subject to differing interpretations. We therefore encourage you, as you are able, to contact your own attorney and discuss any specific legal questions you may have. To find an attorney near you, visit OGALLA, the LGBT Bar Association of Oregon, at www.ogalla.org.

I’m quite excited that this non-profit was able to team with knowledgeable lawyers to make this book a reality. It is well laid out and easy to read. And you can download the PDF for free. The only thing I’m disappointed about? The actual laws…

For many of the completely valid questions asked there is an honest “probably” or “the answer is unclear.” The fact is we still live in a country where institutionalized transphobia is still very much law. What this handbook made me realize is that it’s not enough to know your rights, although that’s an essential first step, but we must also push the boundaries of our legal rights so that someday it doesn’t “depend” on anything whether you can take family leave you care for a partner but is a matter-of-course.

And then there are questions like “Can I be denied membership in gyms, sports leagues, fraternal groups, or other clubs whose memberships are gender-based?” which remind us that private clubs can still be based on gender. I wholeheartedly support the dialogue surrounding men and women only spaces, just as the claptrap around the Michigan Women’s Music Festival but should we not still be talking about Gentlemen’s clubs and whether transmen, transwomen and any other individual should really be denied access?

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