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Jan. 19, 2015 — Dreams of dignity

Today, as the nation reflects on the civil rights legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is instructive to reflect upon those for whom the dream of an egalitarian society is not yet realized.

There are entire classes of people against whom it is legal to discriminate in this country. These include people convicted of crimes, people who are unfortunate to live in the six U.S. possessions or territories which do not have full voting representation in Congress, and people who do not share the same social lifestyle as the majority.

One such acquaintance is in a hospital room on the left coast today. A few days ago, she had gender reassignment surgery after having been injected with a series of hormone shots over the course of the past few months. She will be taking lots of medication over the next few days for the pain.

Another acquaintance has seen the looks given by strangers walking down the street. Having grown up a “ladyboy” in southeast Asia, he is used to wearing attire from both genders and performing in front of audiences — something which isn’t done to this degree in the United States. He’s an artist and model who lives his life to the fullest, no matter what others in his city may think.

So, when you think about the term “civil rights” today, try to understand the universal truths that our Constitution speaks to, and that they must apply to everyone, even people you don’t like. Any qualification otherwise is fascism.

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