For me, 2012 was a year of two transitions. I went from being a law student to a practicing attorney, I also went from pre- senting myself as a male to be- ginning my gender transition. Doing both at once was an intense
experience, and capturing the full depth of that in
a single article is simply impossible.
On the one hand, there were many positive experiences. The majority of attorneys I have talked
to have been welcoming and supportive of my transition. I have had a chance to work on cutting-edge
legal issues that affect not only my rights but the
rights of the entire transgender community. The
law itself is also evolving to be increasingly responsive to the needs of transgender people. The
Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner
recently announced that health insurance carriers
will no longer be permitted to discriminate against
gender dysphoria in insurance coverage.
1 This is a
huge step forward in healthcare equality.
On the other hand, being a transgender lawyer, and a transgender person, remains difficult.
Some transgender attorneys in the Seattle area,
where I am situated, still feel the need to hide
being transgender from their colleagues. Many
other transgender people will avoid the legal field
entirely. The importance of being visible as a
community on influencing policy in federal, state,
WHAT MY GENDER TRANSITION SAYS
ABOUT HOW TO CREATE A MORE
by Lucy K. Sharp
and local government as well in the
private sector cannot be overstated.
The easiest way to combat prejudice
against transgender people is for people to get a chance to know us. If we
remain closeted, that chance never
arrives. Furthermore, transgender
people are denied representatives
who share a personal understanding
of issues around gender identity and
share some of their life experiences.
This makes access to legal resources
So instead of focusing on the highlights of my transition, I wish to focus
on areas where I experienced difficulties or barriers as a transgender
woman during my transition in our legal community, including compliance
with legal protections for transgender
people, harassment, and accommodation of needs associated with my
background as a transgender person.
Transgender Identity and
A transgender person is someone who
identifies as a gender other than the
one assigned to them at birth. Many
transgender people choose to under-