No Time for Complacency on Transgender Protections
Gauging support for trans rights has been very difficult given how limited national data currently is. Therefore these findings, while limited as all such studies of this nature are, are a welcome indicator of a strong level of support.
In case the surveys reported here might breed complacency regarding trans issues — that a reader might think that broad and swift progress on trans rights must be within immediate reach and therefore trans rights issues should not be a matter for particular concern — it is worth referring to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (.pdf), a landmark release by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
The 2009 survey found that among a national sample of 6, 450 trans respondents a pervasive level of discrimination existed; that the sample was nearly four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000/year compared to the general population; and that a staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population, with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias (55%), were harassed/bullied in school (51%), had low household income, or were the victim of physical assault (61%) or sexual assault (64%).
Yet, despite these devastating issues, affirmation of trans rights remains difficult at the state and federal level.
New York, for instance, has this year been the subject of much praise for its legalization of marriage equality, yet legislation enshrining trans-inclusive employment protections still has not passed in the state despite a lengthy battle, and this is the case in most other states including Massachusetts which has long been thought of as a bastion of LGBT rights but where a trans equal rights bill is still the subject of much friction. The same can be said for legislation at the federal level. A trans-inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) languishes in Congress even after more than a decade of legislative maneuvering.
So while the high levels of support documented in the August and September Religion and Politics Tracking Surveys are of course welcome, unless that public support translates to meaningful action it means little, and at the moment there seems a disconnect between the opinions shown in these surveys and actual political will that, as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s National Transgender Discrimination Survey suggests, is costing livelihoods and even lives.
Read more: employment non discrimination act, Enda, gender identity discrimination, lgbt discrimination, lgbt employment discrimination, lgbt people of color, lgbt poverty, lgbt rights, lgbt USA, racial discrimination, trans discrimination, transgender, transgender discrimination, transgender issues, transgender rights
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