As a transgender woman myself, I am often bombarded with politics. Far too frequently people assume that my identity, appearance, or voice are an invitation to blurt their political stance at me. Whether it’s in support or protest of my expression of self, as an apolitical person it gets tiresome after some time.
“Now wait a minute, what do you mean ‘as an apolitical person’?” I’m glad I asked for you, reader. While I’m not apolitical in the sense that I’m “apathetic toward politics” I personally believe that the party system leads to mob mentalities and obsessive criticism of one’s peers and self regardless of affiliation. I stand with views on an individual basis, and not based on a set of established beliefs. Putting kids in cages? Wrong and terrible. Bombing innocent people in the name of harming the guilty? Awful and misguided. Taking away the food of public schools in the name of less fat children while your own kids who attend a private school eat like royalty? Disgusting, shameful, and enforces negative body images.
All that being said, I often listen to the political conversations, or the often misplaced political joke everyone makes during normal conversation. Being someone who falls under the LGBT identifier, many of my friends identify as “Liberal” and my family often identifies as “conservative”, I hear a lot of political opinions in both directions.
Firstly, both sides seem to believe that an individual should have their full rights as a free citizen. Here in the United States of America, our country is built on a set of values known as The Constitution which is a subset of previously agreed upon rules and rights for both the government and citizens alike. It was written in 1789 and has received twenty seven amendments. The latest amendment was written in 1992 under George Bush Sr., the most infamous is the 13th amendment written in 1865 under Abraham Lincoln. The flaws in the 13th amendment, however, are very complex and I will cover them in another article (slavery is wrong, even in prison).
The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Broken down simply the Bill of Rights reads:
1st Amendment – The freedom of Speech/Press. The right to assemble in protest. The right to religious beliefs, and prevents the Government from favoring one religion over another or having religious affiliation.
2nd Amendment – The right to bear arms. Especially if the government should become corrupt and tyrannical.
3rd Amendment – Prevents the government from forcing the housing of soldiers in the homes of citizens.
4th Amendment – Bars the government from unreasonable search and seizure of individuals for their private property.
5th Amendment – A person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. A criminal cannot have property taken away without proper compensation. People have the right against self-incrimination cannot be imprisoned without Due Process.
6th Amendment – The right to speedy and public trial by an impartial jury.
7th Amendment – Extends the right to jury trial in civil cases.
8th Amendment – Bars excessive bail or fines, also bars cruel and unusual punishment.
9th Amendment – states that listing specific rights in the Constitution does not mean that people do not have other rights that have not been spelled out.
10th Amendment – the Federal Government only has those powers delegated in the Constitution. If it isn’t listed, it belongs to the states or to the people.
If we take a closer look at the first amendment, any religious arguments against LGBT rights are invalid. You as an individual are free to your religion but other people are free to be without religion or with a different religion than yours. It is unconstitutional for any politician to invoke any religious reasoning when addressing the freedoms of the queer community. One could even argue that a citizen invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to be indecent to another citizen is unconstitutional.
My final point invokes the Ninth Amendment. This amendment says that even if a right isn’t listed it doesn’t need to be spelled out for it be recognized by the constitution. should you disregard another persons rights as a free citizen of the United States written or spoken, it is unconstitutional. As a transwoman or any member of the LGBT community, I would invoke the Ninth Amendment as a right to decency. To disrespect the identity or sexual orientation of another citizen is against the constitution. This would mean that blatantly disrespecting someone’s pronouns, or using slurs or indecent behavior to harass queer citizens breaks a spoken right a growing number of citizens have agreed upon on both sides of the ‘Aisle’ (personally I believe a bird can’t fly without both wings and a tail).
I hope some day, regardless of our personal affiliations, we can all agree to be kinder to one another. I would hate to see more hate and anger spread as it has been in recent history. Our forefathers may have made mistakes, but they still had a vision of freedom for all, regardless of race or creed or orientation or identity. A vision of a place where no matter who you were or where you came from it didn’t matter, what matters is that you’re you and you’re here.
My name is Holly-Jane Chogyoji. This has been some of my thoughts and ideas as I revisited the bill of rights. I hope you enjoyed, and I hope we can all learn something and grow from what I wrote today. Big love.