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August 01, 2021

PrideVMC releases document outlining civil rights expectations for transgender, nonbinary people

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The Pride Veterinary Medical Community is working to support transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming individuals in the veterinary profession.

The PrideVMC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group recently released the Gender Identity Bill of Rights to help address inequality and inequity in veterinary spaces.

“PrideVMC acknowledges the importance of clear and unequivocal commitment to equality, equity, and the human rights of the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals of our diverse LGBTQ+ family in a time where the acceptance of our brethren by the general public is uncommon,” a PrideVMC press release states.

Across the U.S., state legislators have introduced over 100 anti-transgender bills in areas such as access to medical care and restroom access.

“It is time to make our profession a safer space for the transgender community,” the press release states. “This Gender Identity Bill of Rights for the veterinary profession is simply a start. We invite you to take this bill of rights to your workplaces and academic institutions and implement it to take an active stand in making the veterinary profession an inclusive space.”

According to the authors, the document may be revised or added to as feedback is received. Currently, the bill outlines civil rights expectations for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming individuals in veterinary medicine.

Nonbinary pride flag
The nonbinary pride flag, created by Kye Rowan in 2014
Transgender pride flag
The transgender pride flag, created by Monica Helms in 1999

Some of the rights include the following:

  • Right to identity: Gender identity is personal and individual. No one other than the individual should dictate the terms of gender identity, gender expression, or processes involved in gender affirmation. Additionally, there should be equal opportunities in education and employment within the profession regardless of gender identity.
  • Right to names: Addressing an individual by their name demonstrates respect and acknowledges you trust that they know themselves better than you do. Intentional ‘deadnaming,’ whether as a continued deliberate campaign or wantonly neglectful use of a person’s birth or current legal name rather than a chosen name is an act of violence against transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming individuals and should not be tolerated.
  • Right to pronouns: Pronouns can be fluid and subject to continual change by the individual. Correct use of pronouns is a right; therefore, the introduction of pronouns in conversation, pronouns on name badges, and pronoun tags on emails that can be readily altered should be standard practice to create inclusive spaces in the veterinary profession.
  • Right to privacy: Transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming individuals have a right to privacy and should not be mandated to expose private medical information or any details regarding their lives, bodies, gender expression, and/or identity. Employers and colleagues should not discuss any medical information or details regarding these individuals with other employees, clients, etc.
  • Protection from co-worker discrimination/harassment: It should be the responsibility of the veterinary profession and the employer/institution to commit to identify and reduce learning space/workplace/workspace harassment and discrimination of any type.

The authors are Drs. Erika Lin-Hendel, Ewan Wolff, and Jenna Ward. A number of reviewers and contributors also were involved.

A second resource from PrideVMC, the Gender Diversity Guide, will be released in 2022. It will expand on the 12 points in the Gender Identity Bill of Rights and will discuss best practices for gender affirmation and provide links to established resources.

The authors welcome feedback on the Gender Identity Bill of Rights and acknowledge that there are needs likely not addressed in the document. PrideVMC encourages anyone with comments to email GenderIdentityatPrideVMC [dot] org (GenderIdentity[at]PrideVMC[dot]org).