In his column this morning for The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof joined the ongoing conversation around transgender visibility and rights. 

Noting media reports around Bruce Jenner's possible transition, Kristof put the story in the broader context of the transgender movement and significant challenges faced by transgender people.

Kristof explained, “[C]onsidering the violence and discrimination that transgender people endure, no one would go through this except for the most profound of motivations: to be authentic to one’s inner self.”

In addressing violence, Kristof referenced HRC’s Anti-Transgender Violence report and spoke to HRC spokesperson Liz Halloran, who said, “Inability to access employment, housing and safety-net services, as well as family rejection, all conspire to create a reality that makes transgender people — especially transgender people of color, transgender women and transgender people living poverty — more vulnerable to violence.” 

Kristof also spoke to Jay Brown, HRC’s Director of Program Strategies: “Brown, a transgender man who has written an excellent online guide to how the public can support those transitioning, notes that as 65 percent of Americans say they have a family member or close friend who is gay, compared with only 9 percent who have such a connection to someone who is transgender.”

Kristof nods to increased “signs of a real opening” when it comes to visibility, including TV shows, and major support from Vice President Joe Biden, as well as inclusion of transgender people in President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Writes Kristof, "Cynics might say that the television plans are more about self-promotion than leadership. All I know is that Jenner seems to be preparing for a bold public mission involving something intensely personal, in a way that should open minds and hearts."

To learn a few ways to give friends and family -- or media personalities -- the support they might need in the process of transitioning, click here.


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