Public accommodations are establishments that provide goods and services to the general public. This can include restaurants, theaters, hotels and retail stores.
Right now in Utah there is not a single law banning discrimination in public accommodations in any city or county, or on a statewide level. This means that discrimination against transgender people can happen in restaurants, stores, even in homeless shelters and similar services. We believe that this is unjust and are working to enact laws across Utah to explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Legal Name and Gender Change
In our state changing one’s legal name and gender is done through filing with a court and appearing before a judge who will decide whether on not to allow the change. However because the legal code in Utah around this is vague, judges are given a lot of power in this process. This means that your ability to change your legal name and gender is largely up to the judge who hears your case, making it very hard is some jurisdictions to even get your legal information changed.
In addition the costs associated with this process can prevent people can seeking the legal changes they need to live fully as themselves. The fees can be dismissed, but again this entirely at the discretion of the judge, which can make this process even more of a gamble. A gamble over whether you can afford food or get necessary changes made is not much of a choice.
We believe this process should be one that is clear, consistent, and most importantly easy. We are working towards a solution that will not leave people out by imposing surgical requirements, overly burdensome age limits, or that will leave out non-binary people. We also believe that for those who are poor the fines should not be a limitation.
Transgender people often do not receive the health coverage they need due to discriminatory exclusions in health insurance plans, higher rates of unemployment, and with that higher rates of being uninsured, and sometimes a lack of understanding among medical personnel. We believe that these barriers need to challenged both through education and legislation.