Katrina C. Rose


In 1993, Minnesota became the first state to enact a sexual orientation civil rights statute that also provides protections for transgender people. At the twenty-fifth anniversary of that achievement, the intricate history underlying the statute remains underappreciated. The pioneering status of the 1993 state statute, as well as that of the 1975 Minneapolis trans-inclusive ordinance upon which it was based, now typically are recognized. The degree to which radical agitation against politically moderate interests did not sabotage trans-exclusive gay rights but, instead, gave birth to trans-inclusive gay rights is still largely misunderstood. The degree to which that earliest trans rights ordinance almost disappeared in a comedy of errors and the degree to which it actually was disappeared by much scholarly writing is an overlooked historical issue. I argue that trans people in every jurisdiction in the United States and in every profession still suffer from the omissions of those who had platforms in decades past from which at least to acknowledge the existence of trans-inclusive civil rights but, at every opportunity, painted only images of transabsence. I further argue that a renewed focus on appreciating the fragility both of trans civil rights protections and of their place in civil rights history is essential to understanding how and why trans rights have become diminished in some places and, in others, never appeared at all.



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