Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Landmark Transgender Study Reveals Staggering Degree of Discrimination

Collage courtesy of Transgender Day of Remembrance

Washington, DC – You will change the way you perceive transgender people, and rethink how you advocate for our sisters and brothers after you read the findings of the largest national study of transpeople and gender non-conforming people ever done.  The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce released “Injustice at Ever Turn” on February 4, a massive study of 6,450 respondents. Sixty-three percent (63 %) of all respondents reported a serious act of discrimination because of their gender identity or gender presentation and expression. Twenty-three percent (23%) experienced a “catastrophic level of discrimination” according to the report, meaning they had faced significant acts of bias and harm in at least three of these categories:

  • Sexual assault due to bias
  • Physical assault due to bias
  • Job loss due to bias
  • Eviction from residence due to bias
  • School bullying/harassment severe enough to cause dropout
  • Homelessness because of gender identity/expression
  • Denial of medical care/service due to bias
  • Incarceration due to gender identity/expression
  • Loss of relationship with partner or child due to gender identity/expression

Among the findings: forty-one percent (41%) of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to a mere 1.6% of the general population; one in five experienced homelessness due to their gender expression/identity; transpeople are four times more likely to live in extreme poverty (income of $10,000 annually, or less) than Americans at large; and respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed than the general population. The combination of transgender discrimination and structural racial bias proved especially devastating in the lives of respondents. The study concludes, in part:

“It is part of social and legal convention in the United States to discriminate against, ridicule, and abuse transgender and gender non-conforming people within foundational institutions such as the family, schools, the workplace and health care settings, every day. Instead of recognizing that the moral failure lies in society’s unwillingness to embrace different gender identities and expressions, society blames transgender and gender non-conforming people for bringing the discrimination and violence on themselves.”

It is astounding that seventy-eight percent (78%) of those responding reported to the study that they feel more confident and comfortable at work, and more satisfied with their job performance after transitioning than they felt before–despite the levels of discrimination they constantly face in the workplace. As a survey respondent testified: “My mother disowned me. I was fired from my job after 18 years of loyal employment. I was forced onto public assistance to survive. But still I have pressed forward, started a new career, and rebuilt my immediate family. You are defined not by falling, but how well you rise after falling. I’m a licensed practical nurse now and am studying to become an RN. I have walked these streets and been harassed nearly every day, but I will not change. I am back out there the next day with my head up.”

“Injustice at Every Turn” is a wake up call to the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community, who have an uneasy history with transgender people since the days of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City in 1969. Transpeople were integral to the liberation movement that propelled queer folk toward freedom, yet gender non-conforming people, especially transpeople of color, remain among the most misunderstood and neglected segments of the LGBTQ community in the United States. The incidence of hate crimes perpetrated against the transgender population, witnessed to each year by the national Transgender Day of Remembrance, is finally being documented thanks to the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act law–and the statistics are daunting.

No one should suffer discrimination based on gender identity or expression in the United States. The passion for justice must respond to the findings of this groundbreaking study.  For an executive summary of the “Injustice at Every Turn,” click here.

February 5, 2011 - Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bisexual persons, Bullying in schools, gay men, gender identity/expression, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Latino and Latina Americans, Lesbian women, Matthew Shepard Act, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Racism, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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  2. In the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr “No One Is Free Until Were All Free”

    Comment by Ariana Raulerson Losco | December 6, 2011

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