Of month topic: Issues Facing Trans/Intersex/Bi
Note: .3-.5% of Americans = roughly 1,300,000 people
Note on the GLAAD "Understanding" reports and National Center for Transgender Equality.
Ways we'll be discussing the topic (Section Descriptions: Discrimination, Legal Challenges, Physical Safety)
Section 1 - Discrimination
Discrimination in Public Accommodations
Public accommodations are places accessible to the public, such as retail stores, restaurants, parks, hotels, libraries, movie theatres, and banks. In a 2014 study conducted in Massachusetts, 65% of transgender people reported experiencing discrimination in a place of public accommodation in the past 12 months.
Discrimination in Employment
Transgender people experience pervasive discrimination at work. Between 13% and 47% of transgender workers report being unfairly denied a job,9 and 78% report being harassed, mistreated, or discriminated against at work, as shown in
Currently, only 18 states have clear laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression (see Figure 3 on the next page).12 There is no federal law that explicitly prohibits discrimination against transgender employees, but there are some protections in place. Both the U.S. Attorney General and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination "because of sex," to protect transgender workers.
Discrimination in Housing.
one in five transgender people (19%) in the United States have been refused a home or apartment and more than one in ten (11%) have been evicted because of their gender identity.21 Homelessness is a critical issue for transgender people, with one in five having experienced homelessness at some time in their lives because of discrimination and family rejection
Discrimination in Education
Schools are difficult places for transgender students as they regularly face discrimination, bullying, and harassment in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions. In one survey, 40% of gender non-confirming youtha reported being frequently harassed by their peers and 37% reported frequent verbal harassment and name calling.26
Across the United States, only 13 states have laws that clearly protect students against discrimination because of their gender identity and/or expression
only 18 states expressly prohibit bullying on the basis of gender identity and/or expression (see Figure 6).29
A study in Massachusetts found that 19% of transgender respondents had postponed or avoided necessary care due to mistreatment or discrimination from health care workers.
Section 2 – Legal Challenges
Inaccurate Identity Documents
Official identity documents—such as drivers' licenses, birth certificates, and passports—that do not match a transgender person's gender identity greatly complicate that person's life. Non-matching identification can obstruct employment and travel, as well as expose transgender people to harassment, violence, refusal of service, job loss, and other problems.
Only one-fifth (21%) of transgender people who have transitioned to living in accordance with their gender identity have been able to update all of their IDs and official records with the correct gender, and onethird (33%) had updated none of their IDs or records,
Marriage and Family
Transgender people can be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual, but regardless of their sexual orientation, they can often face myriad obstacles when it comes to marriage and parenting. For example, a transgender man who wants to marry a woman may still be seen as part of a same-sex couple and denied a marriage license in states that deny marriage to same-sex couples.
Depending on state law, the couple may be seen as a same-sex couple in one state and a heterosexual couple in another state, with their marriage becoming valid or invalid depending on their state of residence.
Even when a transgender person has legal recognition of their transition and enters into a heterosexual marriage, courts have invalidated such marriages during legal disputes (for example, a transgender man dies and his employer denies benefits to his wife, arguing that the marriage was not valid).
Additionally, if a marriage or relationship dissolves, transgender parents may have their gender identity or expression used to deny them custody or visitation rights.57
Interactions with the Criminal Justice System
More than 2.4 million people are incarcerated in the United States; the country is home to 5% of the world's population and 25% of its prisoners. Latinos are incarcerated at 2.5 times the rate of whites, and African Americans are at nearly 6 times the rate of whites.61 Transgender people and gender non-conforming people, particularly low-income people and people of color, face higher levels of policing and profiling, leading to higher levels of police harassment, imprisonment, and violence.
Higher levels of interaction with law enforcement inevitably leads to higher levels of arrest and incarceration for transgender people. Nearly one in six transgender people (16% overall, including 21% of transgender women) have been incarcerated at some point in their lives—far higher than the rate for the general population. Among black transgender people, nearly half (47%) have been incarcerated at some point.63
Transgender immigrants face many barriers to safety and economic security. Many transgender immigrants fled dangerous conditions in countries where being transgender is a crime, or where violence against transgender people is widespread and ignored or perpetrated by the government. Difficulty gaining legal status due to employment discrimination and family rejection, along with increased interactions with law enforcement, mean that transgender immigrants are more likely to be detained and/or deported.67 Once detained, transgender immigrants are especially vulnerable to sexual assault and other forms of abuse. Often held in prison-like conditions, transgender immigrants, including asylum seekers, are at high risk of sexual assault, denial of medical care, physical and mental abuse, and placement in solitary confinement
Section 3 - Physical Safety
Transgender people report low insurance rates and shockingly high rates of negative health outcomes.31
Only 40% of respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey reported accessing health insurance through their current or former employer,34 compared to 44.6% of Americans.3
Shockingly, 41% of respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey reported ever attempting suicide.45 This compares to 1.6% of all Americans who have reported attempting suicide.
Twenty-six percent of respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey had been physically assaulted on at least one occasion because of antitransgender bias.48
ransgender women and transgender people of color are much more vulnerable to violence, especially at the hands of law enforcement. In the 2013 Hate Violence Report, transgender women were four times more likely to experience police violence and six times more likely to experience physical violence when interacting with the police, compared to all respondents.50 Transgender people of color were more than two and a half times more likely to experience police violence and six times more likely to experience physical violence from the police compared to white non-transgender LGB respondents.51 In 2013, transgender women of color comprised more than half of all LGBT homicide victims.52
– Believing that being transgender is a symptom of mental illness, a lie people tell, or a fad (read more: Is being transgender a mental disorder?)
– Belittling non-binary people for not fully identifying as male or female.
– Requiring transgender people to use gendered facilities such as public bathrooms that are inconsistent with their identified gender.
– Evaluating the validity of someone's gender identity based on their ability "pass" as cis.
Good for definitions
GLAAD "Understanding Series"
Movement Advancement Project
National Center for Transgender Equality
Transgender Law Center