Claire Bow Works To Make The Legal System More Responsive To Transgender People

“I think the key point that judges and lawyers need to understand is that transition is the treatment for gender dysphoria.”

By Sol ChaseApril 25, 2019 12:20 pm,

Claire Bow says transgender people aren’t defined by common politics or socioeconomic status.

But they do have on thing in common: “The thing that makes us different is that our internal sense of self – our internal sense of who we are as men and women – is different than what society sees us as,” Bow says.

Bow, who is a transgender woman, is an attorney who advocates for other transgender folks. She says transgender people make up about 0.6% of the population.

Gender dysphoria isn’t always understood by the broader public or even mental health professionals or those working in the justice system who may encounter people living with dysphoria. Bow says she aims to change that through her work, so that laws and medical care can better serve the needs of transgender people.

“The concept of transgender law is a very, very new thing,” Bow says. “We weren’t even recognized as human beings until not all that long ago, much less as having any inherent rights as humans.”

Bow says her law school education didn’t include any mention of transgender issues. Now, she works to help judges and lawyers understand that being transgender is not something to overcome, nor should it be ignored. Also, she wants them to better understand what it means for a transgender person to “transition.”

“I think the key point that judges and lawyers need to understand is that transition is the treatment for gender dysphoria,” Bow says.

Bow says transgender children are particularly at risk of self harm, in part because transitioning isn’t always understood by others.

“There’s a 41% chance that a transgender child will attempt suicide before their 21st birthday,” she says.

If Texas law better accommodated transgender issues, Bow says that could help those people live their lives more freely and possibly lower their risk for suicide. 

“A lot of what I’m trying to do is simply get that discussion started,” Bow says. “Sharing my ideas on how Texas law treats these topics, and offering a process that is in accordance with what we know about the guidance from the professionals who study this.”


Written by Shelly Brisbin.