Transgender workers are up against alarming inequities in the American workplace today, states the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
“Facing difficulty finding and keeping good jobs, accessing benefits and obtaining health insurance, according to a new report from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the National Center for Transgender Equity (NCTE), the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), all SEIU partner organizations.
“The study, “A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers,”notes that transgender workers report unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole (14 percent versus 7 percent); nearly half of transgender people who are working are underemployed; and transgender workers are nearly four times more likely than the population as a whole to have a household income of under $10,000.
“Examples of transgender discrimination range from wage disparities and the inability to update identity documents to denial of promotions and unfair firing.
“Workplace fairness means more than freedom from harassment; it means equal access to the benefits that transgender employees need to live healthy and productive lives,” said Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president of external affairs at CAP.
“This new report underscores the harsh reality of what it means to live and work as a transgender person in this country,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of NCTE.SEIU members at the union’s 25th Convention in Denver last year unanimously approved a resolution calling on local unions to bargain for trans-inclusive health care. Other partners supporting the report are Freedom to Work, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Out and Equal Workplace Advocates.”
More at: http://www.seiu.org/2013/09/harsh-reality-of-workplaces-for-transgender-americ.php
American Apparel, the clothing company that has historically reached out to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (though some have argued “capitalize upon” would be a more appropriate way of putting it) and marketed clothing to pro-LGBT individuals, announced via Instagram an open call for “transgendered/transsexual” models last week, reports HuffPo
“The timing of the move comes just days after the transgender conversation moved into the national spotlight with Chelsea Manning coming out of the closet and the discussion of trans people in the military and prisons gaining more traction in the mainstream media.
“American Apparel is no stranger to controversy, with the company’s CEO having endured multiple lawsuits, including claims that he used one of this employees as a”sex slave.” The company has also been in hot water for allegedly having a policy of firing employees that are “too ugly” and reportedly releasing an employee that was in chemotherapy.
“While the company should probably reconsider its use of the word “transgendered” versus “transgender,” American Apparel has, in fact, used transgender models in the past — notably Isis King from “America’s Next Top Model.” The clothing company also launched a joint campaign with GLAAD earlier this year that featured an LGBT pride t-shirt”
More at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/26/american-apparel-transgender-models_n_3817396.
New studies show that transgender civilians enlist in the military at twice the rate of the non-transgender population, but that transgender veterans are 20 times more likely to commit suicide. These findings are discussed in today’s Mother Jones, excerpted below:
“Transgender soldiers and sailors largely fly under the radar, but they are hardly uncommon.In a recent surveyby the Harvard Kennedy School’s LGBTQ Policy Journal, 20 percent of transgender people contacted said they had served in the military—that’s twice the rate of the general population. A 2011 study estimates there are nearly 700,000 transgender individuals (about three people per thousand) living in the United States. Meanwhile, theAmerican Journal of Public Health (AJPH) is scheduled to release a report today, which drawsfrom Department of Veterans Affairs data, showing that the number of veterans accepting treatment for transgender health issues has doubled in the past decade. (While viewing the full report requires a subscription, an abstract should be available online as of today.)
“These two new peer-reviewed studies indicate that, beyond being discriminatory, the military’s current policy starves the armed services of some of their likeliest recruits, and puts transgender people who serve at greater risk of discrimination, homelessness, and assault than those who don’t. Continue reading “Transgender soldiers”
This past week the national media featured many stories about California’s newly adopted Assembly Bill 1266 recognizing the rights of transgender students in K-12 schools. While a few other states have put in place similar provisions, California is the first state to address the issue with a statewide law. It’s an encouraging accomplishment.
Meanwhile, things seem to be going in the opposite direction in Florida, as Huffington Post reported today:
“In Miami-Dade, it’s still legal to fire, deny housing, refuse services, or just plain discriminate against an individual for being transgender. That’s because a proposed amendment to protected transgendered people under Miami-Dade County’s anti-discrimination law failed this week — and advocates are blaming “chief obstructionist” Commissioner Lynda Bell in particular. In May, the county’s largest gay rights group, SAVE Dade, introduced a”TransEquality” campaign “to pass a trans-inclusive countywide Human Rights Ordinance” that would amend Miami-Dade’s 1998 anti-discrimination law. The law protects gays and lesbians, but doesn’t include language for transgender rights.
“The proposal seemed on track when, sponsored by Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Audrey Edmonson, it passed on its first reading with an 11-1 vote — with Bell casting the lone vote against it, according to the Miami Herald. The amendment then went to the Health and Social Services Committee, of which Bell is a member. But before the committee hearing, the Christian Family Coalition of Miami-Dade County — an “ally” of Bell that has previously endorsed her — sent an illustrated emailurging members to show up to a public discussion. It referred to the proposal as “a dangerous law,” warning that it would “force all places to open bathrooms and dressing rooms to ‘transsexuals.'” A second flyer warned the proposal was “another excuse to discriminate against Christians” and could lead to lawsuits against religious schools.”
More at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/miami-dade-transgender-rights_n_3755340.html
Fox News attacked a bill in California to allow transgender students equal access to school facilities and programs, inappropriately calling the measure a “bathroom bill” and interviewing a notorious anti-LGBT activist to suggest that students will use the law to take advantage of members of the opposite sex, reports MediaMatters
“During the August 9 edition of Happening Now, Fox News reporter Adam Housley discussed a California bill that would require public schools to allow transgender students to choose which school teams they wish to join based on their gender identity. The bill would also allow transgender students to use restrooms and facilities that match their gender identity.
‘Throughout the segment, Fox’s chyron inaccurately identified the measure as a “bathroom bill,” while Housley echoed right-wing fears that the measure might lead to inappropriate behavior between students: The segment also featured a statement from Brad Dacus – the president of the notoriously anti-LGBT Pacific Justice Institute – who warned that the bill “grotesquely violates the privacy rights and security interests and needs of students.”
“Fox’s framing of the measure as a “bathroom bill” is a shameless attempt to prop up the right-wing myth that transgender protections will be exploited by sex offenders who want to infiltrate opposite sex bathrooms. In reality, the measure would merely affirm current law which prohibits California public schools from discriminating against transgender students. Allowing access to appropriate facilities and participation on school teams is an important step to deal with the high rates of bullying and harassment faced by transgender students. As a recent decision by the Colorado Rights Division stated, refusing this kind of access to transgender students “creates an environment that is objectively and subjectively hostile, intimidating, or offensive.” Continue reading “Transphobia on Fox”
In a surprising new trend among non-traditional television outlets, transgender characters are gaining not only increasing visibility in programming, but prominence within show plot-lines, reports Huffington Post
“Most recently, writer Jill Soloway announced that she is creating a new pilot for Amazon titled “Transparent,” which is set to cast “Arrested Development” star Jeffrey Tambor in the leading role.
“The show, which will begin filming in September, reportedly centers around a “middle-aged parent who sits his three adult children down for a revealing, personal conversation. Mort has been secretly living a double-life as a woman, and is eager to introduce the family to their new, authentic parent.”
“Tambor recently starred in Netflix’s non-network revival of the popular television comedy “Arrested Development,” as well as played the head of a news network in another Amazon pilot for Onion News Empire, which has not yet been green-lighted for production. The actor also filmed four episodes of an NBC series titled “Next Caller” alongside Dane Cook, though the network cancelled the show before the season finished filming.
“In the past, trans visibility on network television has proven to be fairly problematic, with representation of the trans community usually presented in an extremely narrow, limited understanding of the vast plethora of identities encompassed by this signifier. Last year, GLAAD published a study that examined ten years of transgender representation on television and found that “more then half [of the portrayals] were negative or defamatory.”
More at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/08/jeffrey-tambor-transparent_n_3726212.html
Last week’s settlement between the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights and a California school district may have been issued at the K-12 level, but the newly clear message that federal laws prohibit discrimination based on gender identity applies to colleges too, experts say.
Inside Higher Ed reports that “The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education jointly determined that California’s Arcadia School District violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination, by barring a transgender student from sex-specific facilities and activities. All schools and colleges receiving federal funds are obligated to comply with Title IX or risk losing that funding.
“In a 2010 “Dear Colleague” letter, OCR said schools must work to prevent gender nonconformity discrimination — when, for example, a student who is assigned a male sex at birth but does not act as a stereotypical boy (maybe by using female pronouns, or wearing dresses) is bullied.
“But this resolution agreement takes that a step further by covering gender identity discrimination — when the same student described above is barred from using the female restroom. She is not being excluded because she doesn’t act like a stereotypical boy and is therefore nonconforming, but because she has a transgender gender identity; her identity doesn’t match the sex she was assigned at birth. Continue reading “Major ruling for transgender students”
Transgender victims of workplace discrimination are for the first time finding restitution in a pair of decisions handed down from the federal government finding anti-trans job bias at two institutions — one a federal contractor, the other an arm of the U.S. government.
The two decisions ––reported today in the Washingon Blade––are the result of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is charged with enforcing laws against workplace discrimination, finding last year in a historic, unanimous decision transgender workplace discrimination amounts to gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
“One of the decisions is the culmination of litigation in that very case, known as Macy v. Holder, was initiated by the Transgender Law Center after the plaintiff was told she wouldn’t receive a job at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’s crime laboratory in Walnut Creek, Calif., after she announced she would transition from male to female.
“On July 8, the Department of Justice — to which the case was remanded after the EEOC made its decision last year — issued a final decision finding Macy indeed faced discrimination when she applied for the position and awarding her relief.
“[T]his office finds that the ATF discriminated against complainant based on her transgender status, and thus her sex, when it stopped complainant’s further participation in the hiring process for the NIBIN Ballistics Forensics Technician Laboratory position,” the decision states. Continue reading “More transgender legal victories”
Gender identity will no longer limit California students in their decisions concerning which bathrooms and locker rooms to use, or which sports teams to join, reports today’s DailyCaller
“Under a proposed law that has passed the state legislature and now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown, students in California will be able to make such choices based on their perceived gender identities, CNN reports.
“Assembly Bill 1266 aims to extend the rights of transgender students. The text requires that students “be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”In May, California’s Assembly had approved the proposed law, which was advertised as the School Success and Opportunity Act. This week, the state Senate passed the proposal by a 21-9 vote. Representatives for Gov. Brown have not signaled whether he will sign the bill. If the new law goes into effect, it will be the first such law anywhere in the country that expressly insists that public school facilities and school-sponsored activities provide equal access to all students based purely on the way they feel about their genders. Continue reading “California nears gender identity legal breakthrough”
Today marks an important victory for the transgender community, even though it may appear to be a small paperwork technicality, reports ThinkProgress.org. “The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that it is now much easier for trans people to change their gender identity on their Social Security records. All that will now be required, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, is for individuals to submit government-issued documentation reflecting a gender change, or a certification from a physician confirming they have undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition.
“This is a significant departure from the previous policy, which required documentation of complete sex reassignment surgery. Many trans people never undergo such procedures, either because they are too expensive, because they do not want to lose their procreative ability, or because it simply isn’t an important change for them to make to find authenticity in their identities. The SSA change eliminates this high standard for trans people to obtain the appropriate documentation for the gender that reflects how they live their daily lives.
“Though Social Security cards do not display gender, the SSA does maintain that information as data, and it can impact other governmental programs. For example, individuals seeking coverage under Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, or other public benefits could face complications if their gender markers do not match from form to form and identification to identification. In addition to an invasion of their privacy, the discordance could even lead to a denial of benefits. The new change will eliminate the obstacles trans people can face to access protections they often need because of other forms of discrimination they otherwise experience in society.”
More at: http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/06/14/2161991/transgender-social-security/?mobile=nc
The are only 16 states where one can’t be fired for being transgender.
In the modern era of LGBT civil rights, transgender inclusion in employment nondiscrimination bills has been the proverbial elephant in the room, writes Brynn Tannehill in Huffington Post: “The subject drove a deep wedge between the transgender community and the LGB community in 2007, when the Employment Non-
Discrimination Act (ENDA) bill was stripped of gender identity language in order to get it to the floor for a vote. Proposed ENDA bills since then have included gender identity but have not had the support necessary to make it to a vote in the House or Senate.
“There has been some progress in the past decade for transgender people in the workplace. In 2002 only 5 percent of the companies that participated in the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI) had gender identity included in their corporate equal opportunity statement. By 2013 it has risen to 84 percent. Since 2002 a host of legal cases have begun to clearly establish that discriminating against transgender people falls under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex. Smith v. City of Salem, Barnes v. City of Cincinnati, Schroerer v. Library of Congress and Macy v. Holder have more or less established this as the dominant narrative in case law. Glenn v. Brumby took it a step further, with the 11th Circuit ruling that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment also applies.
“Those who oppose ENDA or oppose transgender inclusion in it for political purposes ask why we need it when it seems like the transgender community has all these things going for it as it is. The short answer is that we desperately need it because what we have in place is not preventing massive and widespread discrimination against transgender people.
” Transgender people are more than twice as likely to hold advanced degrees as the general population. They’re 50-percent more likely to hold an undergraduate degree. And they’re also making far, far less money than the rest of the population. The same study also revealed that the transgender unemployment rate is twice the national average
“Better-educated but making much less? It is not supposed to work like that. Statistically, there is usually a strong correlation between education and income level, but not for transgender people. The system is broken, and Occam’s razor tells us that the answer is likely what we would expect: Bias against transgender people prevents us from getting jobs, gets us laid off when we transition and keeps us from being paid our fair market value.”
More at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/why-enda-matters-to-the-trans-community_b_3223419.html
Much has been made of Fallon Fox’s participation as a fighter in women’s mixed martial arts competition, and specifically in Championship Fighting Alliance’s women’s tournament, reports YahooSports
“Nearly everyone has an opinion on the situation. Several women in the sport have said that they believe the 37-year-old Fox – born a man, but having undergone gender reassignment surgery and hormonal treatments – has a physical advantage over her female-born counterparts. UFC women’s champ Ronda Rousey and her next challenger, Cat Zingano, have both gone on record saying they believe Fox has a physical advantage.
“Fox, however, says that she does not have an advantage over her opponents. In fact, she believes, if anything, it’s the opposite.“I’m actually at a disadvantage,” Fox said on a recent edition ofInside MMA. “Before the surgery, I started on hormone replacement surgery, back in 2002, 2003.”
“She continues the hormone treatments to this day. “I have to. If I don’t take estrogen hormone replacement therapy, I can get osteoporosis,” she continued. “So any of the women I’m competing against, my testosterone levels are drastically lower than theirs; it’s almost nothing.” Dr. Marci Bowers, a gender reassignment surgeon who has also undergone the procedure, concurred. Continue reading “The Fallon Fox discussion”
Eight years ago, in December 2005, community members, organizers, artists, friends and sweethearts poured through the doors of a small gallery on the Lower East Side to join the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, founded by Dean Spade, at the first annual art auction benefit, Small Works for Big Change. Today’s Huffington Post carries an informative article about SRLP. “Forty artists donated their art, helping SRLP raise $9,000 to support a movement for gender self-determination centered in racial and economic justice, and to celebrate the dynamic and visionary artists among us.
“SRLP is a collective organization that works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence. SRLP roots its work in an understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social and economic justice.
“Transgender and gender-nonconforming communities, especially communities of color, face persistent and severe discrimination and violence in employment, housing, health care and education, leading to disproportionate poverty. Because the state criminalizes trans people’s limited survival options, such as sex and drug work, and low-income trans people and trans people of color are already commonly profiled by the police, these factors lead to disproportionate incarceration. In prison, trans people suffer additional harms, including harassment, violence and denial of gender-affirming health care. For trans immigrants, disproportionate targeting and its consequences multiply exponentially. All these factors combine into an interlocking system of oppression. Continue reading “On the Sylvia Rivera Law Project”
In a story appearing on International Day Against Homophobia (May 17), it appears the Pentagon for the first time has officially recognized transgender service members. The move is being hailed as a breakthrough by the LGBT community, reports The Daily Mail
“The acknowledgement came in the form of a letter to veteran and transgender activist Autumn Sandeen confirming that the Navy had updated its records to show she is a woman.
“While still a long way from open transgender service in the military, OutServe-SLDN, an organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members and their families labeled the move ‘symbolic.’
“The letter from the Navy official, dated May 2, read: ‘Per your request the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) has been updated to show your gender as female effective April 12, 2013.’
“Sandeen’s military identification card now reflects the change.
‘The fact that a process exists [to change the gender listed] indicates that there are people in the Department of Defense who are aware of the needs of transgender retirees and who are working to see those needs met,’ OutServe-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson told BuzzFeed.
“‘And, in that sense, the significance of this symbolic act for our broader work and for our goal of open service becomes I think a little bit more apparent.'”
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2325737/Autumn-Sandeen-Pentagon-recognizes-transgender-service-members-time-symbolic-LGBT-community.html#ixzz2TathbWnG
More than half a dozen states, from Washington to Massachusetts, have adopted rules to allow transgender students to compete on teams that correspond with their gender identities rather than the sex listed on their school records. Half a dozen more states are considering similar regulations, reports todays’s New York Times. “And a bill in the Legislature would make California the first to specifically guarantee by law that transgender students are allowed to play school sports.
“Transgender students deserve equal access to everything in public education, including sports,” said Tom Ammiano, the state assemblyman sponsoring the bill. “You can’t discriminate just because you’re uncomfortable with a young man transitioning to become a young woman.”
“The push to include transgender students in school sports reflects the rapidly growing visibility of transgender people in all walks of society — like Fallon Fox, the mixed-martial artist who was born a man but fights women, and Chaz Bono, the child of Sonny Bono and Cher, who has transitioned from female to male — as well as shifting ideas about how to define gender. Continue reading “Progress for transgender athletes”
Smith College’s gender and sexuality advocacy organization Q&A recently delivered a petition with 4,000 signatures to the university’s admission’s office in support of a transgender woman, Calliope Wong who was denied admission because her Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA) identified her as male, reports Huffington Post.
“The advocacy group and Wong have been working with GLAAD to shed light on the difficulty that transgender women face when applying to Smith. They want the college to input an inclusive admissions policy.After receiving the petition signatures, Smith’s Dean of Admissions Debra Shaver said that a committee will be formed to directly address the issues pertaining to transgender applicants.
“The committee is expected to start meeting at the start of the new academic year in September. Students involved in the committee say they were told that the private women’s college would stop using the gender marker on FAFSA applications when evaluating transgender students for admission. Continue reading “Smith responds to pressure”
In America’s increasingly expensive health care system, the costs of not having adequate insurance coverage are both financial and physical,reports the Center for American Progress. Without coverage, many people must choose between struggling to pay exorbitant medical bills or going without the care they need.
“Similar to millions of other Americans, many transgender people lack health insurance coverage. But even when they are able to find coverage, the promise of more secure access to care and protection from unaffordable medical bills often rings hollow. This is because the majority of U.S. health insurance plans deny coverage for medical procedures and treatments seen as specific to transgender people.
“This brief provides an overview of insurance discrimination against transgender people; the impact of the Affordable Care Act on insurance discrimination; and how some state insurance regulators are taking action to stop gender-identity discrimination in insurance.
“Currently, most private insurance plans, as well as many state Medicaid programs, incorporate plan language that specifically targets transgender people by excluding, for example:
- “All services related to sexual reassignment”
- “Sex transformations”
- “Any treatment or procedure designed to alter an individual’s physical characteristics to those of the opposite sex”
- “Care, services or treatment for … gender dysphoria or sexual reassignment or change … including medications, implants, hormone therapy, surgery, medical or psychiatric treatment”
In Batgirl #19, on sale today in both print and digital formats, the character Alysia Yeoh will identify as a transwoman in a conversation with her roommate, Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl). Taking care to distinguish Yeoh’s sexual orientation from her gender identity, Batgirl writer Gail Simone noted that the character is also bisexual, Wired Science reports
“Once banned from the world of mainstream comic books by the infamous Comics Code Authority, LGBT characters now have a stronger presence in the world of superhero comics than ever before, with gay and lesbian heroes like Batwoman, Northstar and Green Lantern Alan Scott openly declaring who they are — and even getting married. Today, DC Comics told Wired that it will continue to expand the LGBT diversity of its superhero universe by introducing the first openly transgender character in a mainstream superhero comic.”Simone attributed the inspiration for the character to a conversation she had with fellow comic book writer Greg Rucka several years ago at the Wondercon convention, after a fan asked why there were fewer gay male superheroes than lesbian ones. Rucka, who co-created (and rebooted) Batwoman as a lesbian character, replied that it would be a real sign of change for a gay male character to appear on a comic book cover — and an even bigger step for a transgender character to do the same. Continue reading “Alysia Yeoh makes history”