Friday, December 16, 2016

How to Come Out Transgender at Work


Coming out transgender at work is an important step in our lives and an exciting change. But it can also be a frightening, frustrating and anxiety-filled time as well. As I am an expert on coming out transgender at work (having done it exactly once), I thought I'd share some of what I learned, and some of the mistakes I made, in the hopes that it might be helpful to people who are thinking about coming out at work. 

One thing I can't give advice on is whether you're ready to take this step. You'll know when you're ready. For me, it was the daily frustration of living a double life and the trapped feeling I had from being forced into a role that I didn't like and didn't feel right. Eventually I just couldn't take it any more and I knew it was the right time for me. You'll know when it's the right time for you. 




Prior to Coming Out

1. Develop your own plan. This is important. When I first went to HR, I was expecting the organization to know everything and be ready. You know, I was half expecting the head of HR to press a button on her desk and announce "Okay we have a trans employee. Launch protocol delta-epsilon 6." But, the head of HR was actually expecting me to have a plan. After all, I was the transgender employee and (as far as this office is concerned) the resident expert on all things transgender. So save yourself that awkward step by developing a plan in advance.

Your plan should include:
  • Key dates (when you plan to start work as your preferred gender, when you might take leave, when your transition should be communicated to the organization). 
  • Identify point people and key employees who will need to play specific roles in your transition. Legal may need to review the company's HR policies, HR may need communicate with staff and answer staff questions, if you have clients they may need to be notified by a supervisor. 
  • Draft a communication plan. Be sure to make your thoughts clear on what language you would like used and how you would like any announcement to be made. You may want to make it clear when you would prefer communication be sent. Would you be more comfortable being there to answer questions, meeting with people one-on-one, or with a company-wide memo? 
  • Prepare a list of records that will need to be updated (insurance, email, company IDs, organizational charts, etc.).  
2. If you haven't already, start a personnel file at home. Collect every performance review, every email where your boss says "Great job!" and any other documentation that clearly shows that you're competent at your job.Hopefully you won't need it, but if you find yourself being treated differently for being transgender, you'll want to have a handy-dandy folder ready to show that everyone at work thought you were competent or doing a good job. Of course, if you're not good at your job, I can't help you. Maybe try harder.

3. Start working on your documentation if you can. Transition may be easier if you've already legally changed your name and gotten your new driver's license and Social Security Card. Some organizations may not want to update your personnel records unless you have legally changed your name.

4. If you have a cool co-worker, get their support. Coming out in advance (even to one or two people you trust) can help give you an idea of how the rest of your co-workers might react to your transition. Plus sometimes it just helps to have someone you can go grab a coffee with or hit happy hour with to vent frustrations or get advice.

5. Consider the option of starting a new job as you. If you're already looking to shift to another organization or looking into alternate career paths, it may be a good option. Starting fresh at a new place where no one knows you as your birth-gender may be easier for some people. Even if you think you'd like to stay at your current job, it doesn't hurt to send out feelers or even go on a few interviews to see how things go. Not only will you maybe find a great new job, but interviewing as your true gender may give you a good confidence boost.

6. Update your resume. This is something you should do routinely as it can be helpful in a number of ways. If you end up needing to jump ship, you want to be ready. Plus, having your resume on hand when meeting with your supervisor can be a helpful way to show your value to the organization.

7. Wow, based on the above, it looks like you've been doing a lot of prep. Maybe take a break from work transition planning and grab a pint or a coffee or some candy (whatever works for you) and relax. You can do this!




Coming Out

1. Be courageous. It's normal to be terrified. In fact, in certain situations it would be abnormal to be calm and collected. Remember that the greatest moments of your life are going to be those times when you overcame your fears. You can do this!

2. Start with a simple conversation. Depending on your workplace structure, the initial communication may be with your supervisor or it may be with Human Resources. This might be an email you send or it might be in a quick face-to-face meeting. For me, it started by making a quick appointment with the head of HR. I preferred to have the actual conversation in person. Personally, I think face-to-face is a better option. Unless your organization eschews face-to-face meetings for some reason or you'd be more comfortable documenting every single step, I would say be courageous and actually talk to someone. Sure, it's a heck of a lot easier to send a drunken email at 3am, but c'mon, you're about to come out to everyone. It's time to screw up your courage and have that first conversation, rather than sending an email.

3. Be professional and courteous. Don't start the conversation by talking about your legal rights, or what the employee handbook says, or that loophole you found in the dress code policy that doesn't specifically exclude men from wearing skirts. This is a time to be polite and listen. You're about to bring a big change to the organization and you're about to give a few people like Legal and HR a lot of work. Your employer has to figure out how to respect your rights, but they are also going to be thinking about how they're going to deal with the rest of the people in the company and their clients. Yes, this is your transition, but this isn't going to be all about you.

4. Now, that doesn't mean you have to shut up and go along with whatever the employer wants. Empower yourself to speak up about things that might make you uncomfortable. My place of employment wanted me to lead a Q&A session for staff. I spoke up and said that would make me uncomfortable and that I didn't want to be the center of attention. They also wanted to have a "welcoming breakfast" for staff and I spoke up to nix that too as I wanted my transition to happen with as little fanfare as possible. I was polite as I pointed out specifically why while those might seem like good ideas on the surface,  in both cases they do make the transition seem sort of like a big spectacle. Now, you may want a big spectacle, but you've got to speak up about that too. If you disagree with something, carefully explain your reasons why and always offer an alternative.

5. Listen and be open to working with your employer. This is collaboration, a project that you and your organization will be undertaking. Accept that your employer may be sympathetic and supportive, but also have no real idea how transition should work. They may be expecting you to take the lead or to have a plan developed. This is where having a plan prepared comes in handy. Chances are your employer has no idea what specific steps to take, so if you present a fully formed plan then that puts you in control. Even better than that, it puts you in control and makes you look really helpful. Double bonus!

6. Take some time off before you start work as your shiny new gender. This will give everyone a little time to process the news and will allow you to step back so you're not bombarded with questions or unwanted attention. Some people choose this time for surgery if that's part of their plan, but for me I just took three extra days off and a got a manicure and my hair styled. Do whatever works for you, but some breathing room before the change will be super helpful.

7. Take lots and lots of time planning out the perfect first day outfit. That's what I did. Okay, maybe that's just me.



Starting Work

1. Dress professionally. Take some time to look at what your co-workers are wearing. Not a ton of time. Don't stare obviously. But take note of your workplace's clothing culture. What are other people wearing on a day to day basis? How dressy are they? You might find it good to dress up one slight level dressier than the standard, just to start. It's always better to air on the side of more dressed up. You want people to take you seriously so avoid any clothing that's too wacky, too sexy, too slutty or too casual. Some people suggest starting out in more androgynous clothing if that makes you more comfortable, but for my own transition I felt more comfortable and passable in more stereotypical feminine articles. Do what works for you, but dress up, be professional and look like you're taking this seriously.

2. At work be your regular professional self. Or if you're not generally professional, maybe it's time to give that a try. Do your best, be helpful and take your transition and gender seriously. Sure, you're going to be elated to finally be you in the office! But while that is a cause for celebration, don't let the celebration distract you from your work. Now is the time to show how responsible you are and to demonstrate your value to the organization.

3. Give people the benefit of the doubt. It's really easy to assume that people aren't going to accept you, that they'll mock you or preach to you to lose respect for you. That's a totally normal fear. But don't let that fear influence how you live your life or how you treat to people. It's like John Green said "Imagine others complexly." It's a great truth and one I try (though often fail) to incorporate into my daily life. I thought the religious people with Jesus and Mary pictures on their cubicles would despise me for being a sinful weirdo. I thought that blue collar type guys would look down on me for being a girly faggot. I thought that the women would see me as an interloper, a colonizer, or worse a pervert. But, it turned out much differently in reality. Everyone was accepting and super nice, even the blue collar guys.

4. My experience is, unfortunately, not universal. I know people who have been demoted, been put into scheduling purgatory or had their workplace become hostile to drive them out. While your workplace transition will probably go well, if there are any issues document them. Put them in a written log (date, time, what happened, who was involved) and keep it. If there are labor laws in your state that protect you, familiarize yourself with them. Know your rights and work with your employer to the degree you can. And if it gets to that point, document everything, as much as you can. Keep copies at home or on the cloud. If it gets really bad, start looking for other jobs immediately. You don't have to take one, but having another option can be important.

5. Know that a lawsuit probably isn't going to work. They're expensive. They take years and years. They will drain your soul. But, don't be afraid to talk to legal counsel if you think you need to.

6. Keep going. Don't give up. Believe in yourself. You're strong and you're brave. I know it's cliche but it's also true.




Even if everything goes really well at work, accept that you are going to have extra stress. This is a big change. This is a huge change. For me it was probably the biggest change I'd made in my life since going off to college or moving to New York City from the suburbs. As strong as you are, your brain can only physically handle so much before it just stops functioning.

Take breaks. Take breathers. Allow yourself to process the change and give yourself time to adjust. Do what you need to do to calm down, de-stress yourself and relax. And remember how awesome you are for having the courage to come out. Remember how awesome it is to be the real you!




Resources 

Lambda Legal
ACLU- Transgender Rights 
TS Roadmap's Guide to Coming Out at Work
US Labor Laws

Friday, August 12, 2016

Coming Out to My Sister

So it turns out this is going to be my actual 100th post. And while announcing my podcast The Gender Rebels, is a fun thing, I'm glad that 100 (or C in Roman numerals) will ultimately be a little more personal. Here it is. This is moment.


I've officially come out to my sister as transgender.

Okay, that may not sound like much, but for me it is. As many of my regular readers may know, I grew up in an evangelical, republican, military family in the Deep South. It's not an environment that's highly conducive to coming out as LGBT. And that's putting it lightly. For most of my life I've lived in shame, terrified that someone would discover my secret, worried about what would happen if my family ever found out I was transgender. Coming out to my sister is the first step.

My sister and I were the only two kids in my family. As we were a military family we tended to move around a lot. There was always a new town, a new school. So our family grew kind of insular. Some people thrive in that environment. Me not so much. But my sister and I were always close, even into college. As we are so close, I think she's always known I was transgender (or whatever people thought before transgender became a household term). Despite this, I've never officially come out to her. Until now.

I mailed her a letter yesterday. I know some of you are thinking "a letter, Faith? Why not a call?" Well, firstly I hate talking on the phone if I can avoid it. The other day I was trying to call my doctor's office about something and it took me a minute to remember how to place a phone call on my phone. Plus a letter gives the recipient a time to process, to digest. A call sort of seems to put the person on the spot. That doesn't seem fair. Also it's easier for me and my lack of courage too so everyone wins!

Well, it's been mailed.

Here's some edited highlights I thought I'd share. The actual letter was much longer because I tend to be a little wordy sometimes.

"You’re someone who’s been there for me my whole life and you’re important to me. Plus we never actually ratted each other out to mom or dad when we were teens and for that I will always eternally owe you. We’ve had our shouting matches through the years, but you’re my sister and that’s important to me.

So, yeah, you’re my Face Book friend, but I should probably come out and tell you that I’m transgender. You may already know. You might have guessed. You might have heard rumors. But I wanted you to know straight from me. You deserve as much for putting up with me all these years.

This isn’t anything new. In fact this pervasive feeling of dysphoria, of not being right, has been with me literally as long as I can remember. I’ve been dealing with being transgender all the way back to those early days. You’ve met our parents and you know our upbringing, so you know this wasn’t the kind of thing I ever felt safe bringing up as a kid. It wasn’t even until I moved to NYC that I was ever comfortable expressing myself in public or with friends. It’s only now, with transgender topics on the front page of Time Magazine and in the public eye that I even have the courage to really come out. My whole life growing up I did my best to hide my transgender feelings. I thought they were shameful and made me unworthy of love or even eternal salvation. Heck, there wasn’t even an internet then, so I was completely lost, confused and ashamed. All of that is the reason I’m only courageous enough to come out now. 

You’re the first person in the family that I’m even talking to about this. Hopefully I’ll come out to them too soon enough. Mom, I think, will be okay. Dad will no doubt threaten to disown me but then be too lazy to actually do so. I think he’ll eventually learn to deal. And the rest of the extended family - well, perhaps you now know one of the reasons I’ve kept to myself all these years instead of being involved in family. I probably should come out to them at some point, though honestly I don’t really care that much what they think. But, I’d like the next generation to know they at least have an LGBT ally in me should they ever need it. So yeah, eventually. But you first. I hope you feel special! 

So, I’m still me. I’m still the same person I always was. I hope you’ll accept me as your little sister. Your support in this is insanely valuable to me. I take the older family rejecting me. I can take dad disowning me, but I’m not sure I could take it if you did. That’s not to put any pressure on you obviously. I mean, feel what you feel. But I hope you can accept me. 

As I said, this is something I’ve dealt with my whole life. I’ve still got miles to go on this particular journey, but I hope I can have my big sister along with me. 

PS- Sorry about borrowing your makeup and clothes without asking. 

It's been a day or so and I've not heard anything. It's probably still not even in her mailbox yet. Of course I'm a little nervous, but not that bad actually. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully well.

I'll post an update once I hear back. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

There is a Transgender Character in Star Wars!

.

Okay, I've written a couple articles about whether or not there are transgender characters in the Star Wars galaxy. We looked at the socio-economics, the politics, family dynamics and even the restroom situation in galaxy far, far away. Despite all of that, there was no clear evidence of transgender characters in Star Wars.

And it turns out this series of blog post was destined to be a trilogy.

Because now we finally have our answer.

Recently I came across an article on Entertainment Weekly's website, titled "BB-8: Creating the Roly-poly Droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens." In it, designers talk about how the physical BB-8 was actually a puppet onscreen, and CGI was used to remove the rods and other things that animated the characters.

Then, they discuss the character. I personally love BB-8. Unlike the headstrong and almost foolhardy R2-D2 of the original trilogy, BB-8 is much more timid, like a little puppy. Unlike R2 who bosses people around, BB-8 uses coy persuasion to get people to do what it wants. It's amazing that filmmakers could create two non-human, non-emoting characters and yet make them so distinct in their own ways.


And then, I came cross the following quote from Neil Scanlan who headed up the Force Awakens creature effects shop:

"I’m still not sure, dare I say, whether BB-8 is male or female, BB-8 was female in our eyes. And then he or she became male."

There you go. Not only is BB-8 hilarious and adorable and a fun addition to the Star Wars galaxy. BB-8 is transgender. There is a transgender character in Star Wars and he's an awesome new character. See, I knew we could trust J.J. Abrams.


And now BB-8 totally needs an Oscar. Let me see how much a full page ad in Variety costs. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Why There Are No Transgender Characters in the Star Wars Galaxy (Another Thought)

Okay, for those of you who read my post Why There Are No Transgender Characters in the Star Wars Galaxy, I wanted to add something else I just noticed, having watched The Force Awakens for the fifth time today.

Yes, I am personally responsible for 0.035% of this film's domestic gross. 

There was something I noticed that I hadn't thought of yet in well, a transgender context. It reminded me a little bit of when people transition, but their families refuse to call them by their chosen name as a means of denying that their transition is real. A young person will change genders but their parents will keep calling them by their birth name (or dead name. I personally hate the term "dead name.").

But in Force Awakens (five week old spoiler alert), we see Han, who knows his son prefers to go by his Dark Side name of Kylo Ren, refuse to call him that. Instead he calls him Ben. Kylo Ren is what his friends (Hux, Phasma and Snoak being as close to friends as Kylo has) and co-workers know him as, but the change isn't real to his dad. Nope, to his dad he's always just Ben because Kylo's family just doesn't accept his new life.

Being trans-force-side is just a phase, Ben.
Even Luke, who knows that his father has lived for thirty years as Darth Vader, insists on calling him Anakin. Even when Darth Vader tells him "That name no longer has any meaning for me."

Jeez. These people are jerks. That's just another reason not to transition in the Star Wars galaxy. People won't accept you for who you really are. C'mon, Luke & Han, just accept that some people choose to transition. Whether it's to a new gender or to a new side of the Force, there's new life changes and often a new name. Don't be jerks. Accept your loved ones for who they really are.

Also...

Attack of the Clones features some alien race that the other characters call "Changelings." Apparently, they can change their appearance at will. Now that would great skill for a transgender person to have. The trans kids of that race have it so easy, don't they?

Zam? Is that a boy's name or a girl's name? It doesn't matter.

So are there transgender characters in Star Wars or not? Maybe Rogue One or Episode VIII will finally show us once for all. Or possibly that Han Solo origin story will finally shed some seriously interesting light on that character's early years...

http://loveandasandwich.deviantart.com/
Be sure and check out my final thought on this.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Why There Are No Transgender Characters in the Star Wars Galaxy


You know, Star Trek gets a lot of flack for not featuring LGBT characters. In the 50 years since the original series aired on television, Star Trek has tried to feature a liberal, humanist view where all types of people work together for the common good. Back in the 1960s, it was amazing to think that one day a starship crew might feature African-American women or Russians working right alongside white men. Of course, the white men were still in charge, obviously. Let's not get to crazy here.

But despite what Star Trek tried to show us about equality, there was one big group they left out. LGBT people. Sure, there were a handful of episodes featuring LBGT topics (like the time that one member hermaphrodite race totally got all hot and bothered over Riker's beard or the time that they introduced Vulcan AIDs in Enterprise). For the most part though, LGBT people are no where to be seen in Star Trek.

Then again, Star Wars is also notably missing LGBT characters. Unless you listen to some people on Tumblr who insist that The Force Awakens' Poe Dameron is gay.

What? We were just cuddling. Stop trying to make it into something dirty. 
Now, it makes sense to me that there aren't any gay characters in Star Wars. Heck, there's not even any sex in Star Wars. Han and Leia kiss, what, twice? Three times? That's it. Even Anakin's parents didn't even have sex. If you watch Attack of the Clones, it's not just the Jedi who can't date. Apparently Galactic Senators can't even have boyfriends for some unexplained and inexplicable reason. In all of the original trilogy we see only one actual couple, Luke's aunt and uncle. Despite the number of people in the galaxy, there doesn't appear to be a lot of boning going on. So, really, no one's even straight, much less gay or bisexual.

But, why are there no transgender characters? That has nothing to do with sex after all. Well, I think I've figured out why there are no transgender characters in Star Wars. There's a few reasons:

Terrible Medical Care
The Star Wars galaxy features amazing technology; light sabers, hyperdrive, starships and even droids that are smart enough to whine and complain. Yet, there is one area in which the technology of the Star Wars universe utterly fails and that is medicine. Seriously, if you watch the films, medical care in the galaxy is worse than the United States, and that's saying something. Maybe it's because there are too many alien species and anatomies for doctors to really study. Maybe it's because doctor droids are only programmed to deal with the two most common injuries (people whose limbs are hacked off, and people who fall into bottomless pits). And maybe it's because the only doctors we ever see are droids, the same type of machine we also see constantly falling apart, malfunctioning and, in the case of battle droids, being completely ineffective at their primary task.

She's either losing the will to live, or something. Heck if I know, it's time for my coffee break. 
"Shouldn't we offer some anesthetic or maybe let the burns heal before we-"
"Shut up and keep bolting on robot parts." 
"He had a cut on his face. What's the tank for?"
"That's standard treatment for all Mon Calmari. He's Mon Calmari right? I can never tell with you lifeforms."
So if you were a youngling on Dantooine or Bespin who grew up questioning their assigned gender, would you really trust these medical droids to provide counselling or prescribe you medicine, much less to perform something sensitive like laser hair removal on your face or surgical reconstruction of your genitals? Would you really trust the same droids who couldn't even give Anikan a cream or something for his third degree burns to perform your gender reassignment or facial feminization surgery?

After all you don't want to end up like this guy.
Hang on, this is the only non-droid doctor we ever see in Star Wars.
Definitely not saying much for healthcare in the galaxy.
Extreme Poverty
Unlike life in the United Federation of Planets, life in the Star Wars galaxy is fraught with peril. In the movies we've seen multiple wars, the breakdown of trade and a highly stratified society where the rich live in luxury apartments in the city and can afford all kinds of expensive, fashionable clothes.

Pictured: a Space Republican
Meanwhile the vast, vast majority of galactic citizens live on crappy planets with few resources, where the economy is based on harvesting water from the atmosphere, mining gas from clouds or collecting junk to trade it for green instant bread.

Even sadder than the moisture farmers are the sand merchants. 
You just know Ugnauts don't have a 401K.
Wish I had some blue milk to wash down that green bread.
Between monthly hormone prescriptions, hair removal, both minor and major surgeries, gender transition is not cheap. There's no way that most people in the Star Wars galaxy are going to be able to afford the treatments. Most people appear to have no job security or health plans (assuming they would want the health care). Even the most stable employer, the Empire, clearly doesn't have a functioning HR department, otherwise they'd have dealt with all that workplace violence and the hostile work environments created by upper management. 

In many places, the Empire doesn't even bother to run things, letting petty warlords and gangsters control entire planets. With no law and order, the moisture farmers are the lucky ones. Many people just end up as slaves to the gangsters and criminals. Imagine a world where the most menial jobs are already filled by slaves and droids, where schools and education apparently don't exist, and where the rich create their own rules without government involvement. There's just no good jobs out there.  

Plus no one in the Star Wars galaxy even has any real money. When people do talk about financial transactions, they often mention credits, which implies that there is no hard cash to be had. Everyone is just exchanging credit in some sort of galaxy-wide Ponzi scheme.

Credit and junk; the twin backbones of the galactic economy. 
With poverty, no real job opportunities, no way to better yourself through education and no stable employment to be found, it's not surprising you don't see any transgender people choosing to start their transition. How could they ever hope to afford all the treatments required? Chances are, they're like Luke or Rey, stuck in poverty and pining for a better life that seems forever out of reach.

An Already Too-Complicated Bathroom Situation 
Transgender access to public restrooms is becoming the next major civil rights issue in American society. While transgender people just want to be ensured they have the same rights and protections as any other citizens, some religious extremists have attempted to smear transgender people as deviants or sexual predators based on unfounded fears and ignorance.

With the Star Wars galaxy's dazzling array of different alien species, from the giant slobbering Hutts to the cuddly yet deadly Ewoks, it would make sense that bathrooms are already super complicated.

Artwork by Sergio Aragones. 
It's no wonder then, that transgender rights are a low priority in a galaxy with such a complicated bathroom situation. Do you just have one big bathroom for everyone? Do you segregate it by species? Would segregating by species be perhaps too similar the "separate but equal" approach of the Jim Crow South? Are Wookies offended by having to share a bathroom with Jawas? Would the Gungans, who have historical animosity to the Naboo really want to share restrooms with them?

Adding in the question of which restroom transgender people and aliens should use just adds a whole other layer of chaos to this already sensitive topic. Perhaps the transgender lifeforms of the Star Wars galaxy are fearful about coming out and starting their transition with the restroom situation as confusing and potentially threatening as it already is.

Government & Religion  
We've already touched on how terrible the Empire is as an employer, but now let's focus on how terrible they are as a government. For starters, if you think the Military Industrial Complex has too much of stranglehold on the US budget (18%) imagine what the Empire must spend.

These Star Destroyer's ain't cheap. 
In fact, we never actually see the Empire involved in anything other than military operations. And at one point they clearly did have some other branches of government. But we're told in A New Hope, that the bureaucracy has been dissolved and that regional governors now have direct control over their territories; regional governors like Grand Moff Tarkin and Moff Jerjerod, who we see spending all their time in military facilities, ordering troops around, wearing military uniforms and planning strategies with admirals and generals. In Star Wars there is no non-military sector of government.

There's definitely no Imperial Department of Health and Human Services. We've already seen how badly health care works in this galaxy, how badly the territories are governed, and how poorly the economy is managed. That all makes sense when you consider the fact that the Empire doesn't bother with anything that isn't a TIE fighter, an AT-AT or a Star Destroyer. There's no budget for health or psychiatric counselors, much less social workers or gender specialists. There's no budget for caring doctors who will help people start their transition, there's no budget for counselors for spice-addicted homeless transgender younglings, there's nothing.  

No transgender care, but TWO Death Stars? C'mon!
The First Order is even less well run and has only a fraction of the resources the Empire did. Now, I'm sure the Rebels or the Resistance might be sympathetic to a gender questioning member of their guerrilla organization, but they have no real resources at all and are barely hanging on, in a rather desperate situation. I'm sure if a transgender pilot went up to General Organa and was like "General, any chance we could offer gender care as part of a Resistance health plan," she'd give you a stern but caring look and say "Maybe after the First Order is defeated, we can look into a having a health plan. May the Force be with you." 

Now speaking of the Force, there's another issue that plagued the Republic; the Jedi Council. As ineffective as the Empire was at governing, the Republic was even worse. It was so bad that people happily let the Empire take over. Rather than having an actual military, the Republic relied on a weird cult of un-elected religious zealots to provide both defense and law enforcement. 

Jaywalking? Yep, cut off their arm with a lightsaber. That's all we have.
Sadly, like many organizations run by religious nut jobs, the Jedi Council would have been opposed to LGBT rights. First off, remember that Jedi are, like Republicans, anti-sex. To the Jedi sex is a completely unnecessary distraction. They really hate sex because it creates attachment, which they view as bad. Because they're religious nuts. So when the Republican senator from Corellia stops by the Council and asks if they'd like to maybe support her proposal to legalize gay marriage in the galaxy, the Jedi are gonna say no. Gay marriage is like any marriage. It creates an attachment, which leads to jealousy, which leads to greed, which leads to fear, anger, etc.

Totally sent down the dark path by gay marriage. 
As we said, gender dysphoria has nothing to do with sexual attraction, but the Jedi aren't going to be too crazy about the rights of transgender people either. You see, dysphoria is a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life. For a Jedi that's a path to the dark side because it creates a want, a need for something that if you don't get it, makes you angry. The Jedi way is to ignore desires, push them way down and forget about them. Let it all go.

So when a youngling, who's been taken from her home to be raised in a quasi-military religious order, comes to master Yoda and says "I've never felt comfortable in my gender role. My whole life, I've just felt like I should have been a boy." Do you really think Yoda is going to send her off to the gender clinic to get some testosterone? Or do you think he'd do exactly what he did with Anakin? Tell them to ignore their longing because it's a distraction from the Force and could lead to the dark side.

Compassionate, I am not. 
If you express that you're transgender, the Jedi will tell you to just walk it off and get back to training with your lightsaber. There's people out there with too many arms, we need to be ready to cut them off at a moment's notice.

Then Again Maybe they Do Exist After All
Perhaps we're being a bit too narrow-minded though. While Star Wars doesn't actually feature any transgender characters we're aware of, it is a rather diverse galaxy after all. We've seen that protocol droids can have male or female personalities in the same body.

Remember the girl Threepio from Phanton Menace? It's okay, no one else does either. 
And when it comes to aliens, let's just face it. We humans can be pretty racist. What do we really know about most of the aliens in the Star Wars galaxy?

Guess my birth gender!
Sure, many of the background characters have exhaustive backstories in the Extended Universe, but those stories are no longer cannon. Maybe now they'll write some new stories about all the random background aliens and just maybe they'll include some transgender characters who managed to transition despite the lack of resources available in that galaxy far, far away.

Also, I had one other thought about The Force Awakens if you want to keep reading...