Voter Suppression Efforts Continue to Discriminate Against Transgender Americans
September 26, 2012 by HRC staff
This post comes from HRC Editorial and Digital Media Intern Leanne Naramore:
In a recent interview with the Washington Blade, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry articulated the discrimination that transgender Americans continue to face at the voting booth.
Harris-Perry has personal insight into the challenges transgender Americans face in attempts to vote. Her gender non-conforming relative confronts obstacles when presenting as male, but a student ID purports femaleness. When the sex on an individual’s birth certificate or photo ID doesn’t match someone’s gender identity, Harris-Perry argues that the resulting complications are both unfair and un-American.
“All of those things impact the ability of people to have the kind of state-issued ID that is allowable in a lot of these states around voting,” she said. “And so the idea that a person would be a perfectly eligible American citizen who has an opinion about voting and is kept out of it because of those sorts of issues — it goes to the heart of helping us understand that these efforts are really voter suppression efforts, not efforts to keep the election process above board.”
Harris-Perry argues the conversation around suppressing voters has been too narrow and has failed to include the wide range of impacted identities: “I think we haven’t had a clear enough understanding of just how broad suppression is, how many different groups it impacts.”
The dialogue and action around voter suppression efforts must broaden to include all Americans. Harris-Perry worries “that we keep ourselves from having a truly broad-based coalition that we could have if we were clearer about the impact that on women who marry and change their names, and the impact that this has on queer voters and the impact that this has on students as well on poor people, people with disabilities, older folks and black and brown people. It’s actually massive what these efforts to do in terms of limiting our democracy.”
Melissa Harris-Perry is an American for Marriage Equality, and you can watch her voice her support for equal rights in this video.
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