Transgender people discriminated against on a daily basis

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Transgender flag“With all the anecdotal evidence I have seen and experienced, I was very much aware that societal discrimination and stigmatization of transgender people was pervasive,” says Edison resident, Barbra Casbar Siperstein, “But to be honest, to see the actual numbers, the incredibly high percentage of attempted suicides, outlandish job bias, physical and sexual assaults was an absolute shock.”

Edison resident Babs Casbar Sipertein says she was not very surprised by the awful findings in the national transgender survey.

Edison resident Babs Casbar Siperstein says she was not very surprised by the awful findings in the national transgender survey.

Barbra Casbar Siperstein, of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey is also the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee-Eastern Caucus and Deputy Vice Chair of the State Democratic Committee. She says a new report from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force shows that transgender issues are “… a national disgrace perpetrated by Americans against Americans!”

The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force have released a report titled “Injustice at Every Turn,” that has revealed that transgender persons are discriminated against on a daily basis, and in every area of their lives. There were over 6,450 participants in the study, which found that African-Americans were more often discriminated against than their white counterparts. Transgender people were four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, with an income of less than $10,000 a year.

When compared to the general population, with an attempted suicide rate of 1.6%, the results were astounding for transgender people with 41% of the respondents having attempted suicide.

No one should be out of a job, living in poverty, or faced with sub-par health care simply because of their gender identity or expression,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the Task Force.

“No one should be out of a job, living in poverty, or faced with sub-par health care simply because of their gender identity or expression,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the Task Force.

“By shedding light on the discrimination that transgender Americans face, this study poses a challenge to us all. No one should be out of a job, living in poverty, or faced with sub-par health care simply because of their gender identity or expression. The scope of the problem is clear, and now we must come together to solve it,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the Task Force.

The study showed that 55% of the respondents lost a job due to transgender bias, and 51% were harassed and/or bullied in school.

Though it was no great surprise to find that transgender persons are discriminated against, the surprise is the study itself, which is the largest of it’s kind, and gives a better understanding of what transgender people face on a daily basis. The study focused on many aspects of life including questions on education, health care, employment and housing. Transgender or gender non-conforming persons suffer from housing discrimination, employment discrimination, health care discrimination, and a whole host of other areas of discrimination and prejudices that the survey touched on.

“Reading these results is heartbreaking on a personal level—each of these facts and figures represents pain and hardship endured by real people, every single day. This survey is a call to the conscience of every American who believes that everyone has the right to a fair chance to work hard, to have a roof overhead, and to support a family. Equality, not discrimination, is the ideal that Americans believe in, have fought for, and need to apply here,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE.

The study focused on:

Harrassment and discrimination in education, where 78% of the transgender community reported suffering some kind of harassment or discrimination in grades K  through 12. In employment, 90% reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job and some form of discrimination. Some took steps to hide who they are to avoid mistreatment.

In housing, 19% have been refused a home, and 11% were evicted due to gender identity. In public accommodations, 53% reported being verbally assaulted and/or disrespected in public places, including government agencies. In state, local and federal programs, only 21% reported being able to update all of their records/ID’s, while 33% reported not updating any of their documents.

In healthcare situations, 19% have been refused medical care. These numbers were even higher in people of color. Fifty percent  reported having to teach their medical providers about care for transgender people.

Even within families, 57% have experienced significant rejection by their own family, while only 43% report having maintained most of their family bonds.

The transgender community is very resilient though. Seventy-six percent report they were able to seek out and receive hormone therapy, which shows a true spirit of determination, endurance and resiliency on their part.

Overall, the study showed that 63% experienced serous acts of discrimination, that would affect ones quality of life and ability to sustain themselves emotionally and/or financially.

“I have hope for my fellow Americans,” says Siperstein. “I think by exposing such foul behavior and inhumanity to transgender people and by educating people, real change will continue to occur. I have seen it, I have experienced it! Much has changed in the last 10 years that I have been active, but we all must keep pushing and engaging in a positive manner on all levels!”

According to the reports conclusion, “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 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.

“Nearly every system and institution in the United States, both large and small, from local to national, is implicated by this data. Medical providers and health systems, government agencies, families, businesses and employers, schools and colleges, police departments, jail and prison systems—each of these systems and institutions is failing daily in its obligation to serve transgender and gender non-conforming people, instead subjecting them to mistreatment ranging from commonplace disrespect to outright violence, abuse and the denial of human dignity. The consequences of these widespread injustices are human and real, ranging from unemployment and homelessness to illness and death.

The report finishes by stating, “This report is a call to action for all of us, especially for those who pass laws and set policies and practices, whose action or continued inaction will make a significant difference between the current climate of discrimination and violence and a world of freedom and equality. And everyone else, from those who drive buses or teach our children, to those who sit on the judicial bench or write prescriptions, must also take up the call for human rights for transgender and gender non-conforming people, and confront this pattern of abuse and injustice.

We must accept nothing less than a complete elimination of this pervasive inhumanity; we must work continuously and strenuously together for justice.”
More online at: http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Exec_Summary.pdf, and http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research

Transgender flag“With all the anecdotal evidence I have seen and experienced, I was very much aware that societal discrimination and stigmatization of transgender people was pervasive,” says Edison resident, Barbra Casbar Siperstein, “But to be honest, to see the actual numbers, the incredibly high percentage of attempted suicides, outlandish job bias, physical and sexual assaults was an absolute shock.”