In some ways, there has never been a better time to be trans. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an employee cannot be fired simply for being gay, lesbian, or transgender—a historic victory for the LGBTQ community. And a broad majority of Americans now support trans rights, enabling individuals to move ahead in politics, the professional world, and their own communities regardless of their gender identity.
But as any trans person will tell you, much remains to be done. Trans individuals are often targets of violence, and the legal protections that include sexual orientation often specifically exclude gender identity. Health insurance does not typically cover hormone therapy or gender-confirmation surgery. And when it comes to public accommodations, transgender people may encounter hostility despite civil rights laws that prohibit certain businesses from discriminating against their customers.
In this climate of uncertainty, it is important to do what you can to protect yourself from discrimination—to make sure your life is the best it can be, despite the world around you. From a legal standpoint, preparing an advance medical directive may be a surprisingly good place to start.