Leaving the US in the dust

Lest you be an ardent believer in American Exceptionalism one should take note that some countries are leaving the US in the dust when it comes to human rights advances.

Bolivian Justice Minister Virginia Velasco Condori on Wednesday announced new policy which will allow transgender people to register legal documents using their new identities.

The policy is not perfect.

People who want to alter their name and sex on official identity documents must apply to the Ministry of Justice where a "psychological examination will be held to approve the process.

--Velasquez Condori

But it is light years ahead of the US, which has no federal policy on transgender people whatsoever.

The move – which was first suggested over three years ago – is being seen as a huge victory for the trans community of the country, who have faced increased discrimination in recent months.

A recent survey found that of 55 LGBT-related murders in the country, 11 of them were of transgender people. The survey also found that 80% of respondents had received physical or verbal abuse from Bolivian authorities.

Meanwhile in the UK Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan announced the publication of two new documents, The recruitment and retention of transgender staff and Providing services for transgender customers. As the names suggest the guides give tips on how to cater for transgender customers and how to recruit and support transgender employees.

The employers’ guide contains suggestions – from not forcing a choice between ‘male’ and ‘female’ on application forms, to making sure that trans people are able to use their preferred bathroom.

The guidance, which was developed alongside employers including Asda, Sainsbury’s, McDonalds and the Metropolitan Police, also tells businesses they are missing out if they do not have a diverse workforce.

We are all different. Our different backgrounds, experience and perspectives mean we think about issues in different ways, see new solutions and opportunities to improve.

The opportunity to think differently means we can do things differently.

If barriers exist to the recruitment and retention of transgender staff, employers miss out on this potential.

---Employment guide

Services are generally better when they are designed to take account of different people’s needs.

If you set the atmosphere and culture by treating the inclusion of transgender people as ‘business as usual’ and nothing remarkable, it will help others to follow. In other words, be mindful of issues that can arise, but don’t expect there to be problems.

Treating transgender service-users well is cost effective in terms of reputation and business, but also it will reduce the number of complaints, and even in some cases, legal action.

--Service guide

This government is committed to ensuring that everyone can fulfill their potential, including transgender and non-binary people.

Many transgender people still face discrimination in the workplace, as well as in their day-to-day lives.

The guidance for employers and service providers we are publishing today is an important step towards helping improve knowledge and understanding to ensure all members of our society can live their lives free from discrimination.

--Nicky Morgan

Where does the US stand in relation to this?

Breitbart's headline on this story says that the UK government is requiring businesses to employ more transgender staff immediately and to provide "special treatment" for transgender people."

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