New Report Highlights Difficulties for Black Transgender People
According to a new report, Black transgender and non-conforming people face some of the highest level of discrimination.
The study, “Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey” was conducted by the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Center for Transgender Equality. Some of the key findings are as follows:
• Black people who attended school as transgender people reported alarming rates of harassment (49%), physical assault (27%), and sexual assault (15%) at school. Harassment was so severe that 21% of respondents left school and 6% were expelled due to bias.
• Respondents who were harassed and abused by teachers in K-12 settings showed dramatically worse health and other outcomes than those who did not experience such abuse.
• 32% of Black transgender people lost their jobs due to bias, and 48% were not hired due to bias.
• 21% of Black transgender people are reportedly being refused health care due to bias.
• 41% of Black respondents said that they had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, over five times the rate of the general population.
Of those who tried to access shelters, 40% were denied outright, 61% experienced harassment, 32% were physical assaulted, and 31% were sexually assaulted, all of which took place at a shelter.
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, calls the report “a critical call to action.” In a press release, Carey stated that policymakers need to confront these horrifying realities by enacting protections without hesitation. For complete results of the study, visit TransEquality.org.
Gay Marriage is in the Hands of N.C. Voters
Lawmakers in North Carolina moved one step toward denying gays and lesbians the right to marry. An initiative—to appear on May’s primary ballot—will make marriage between one man and one woman the only domestic union recognized in the state. Marriage in North Carolina is already defined as being between one woman and one man, but the amendment will make the ban on gay marriage part of the state’s constitution. If the amendment is approved by voters, the state legislature and state courts would be unable challenge the law.
Bullying Among LGBT Youth Gets National Attention
Treatment of LGBT youth has become a nationwide debate in light of the string of suicides stemming from bullying. Most recently, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer of Buffalo, NY, took his life, allegedly due to constant abuse from peers. On Sept. 8, over a week before taking his life, Rodemeyer posted the following to his blog: “No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down.”
In response, The White House has named The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) a “Champion of Change,” and held a national Anti-Bullying summit on Sept. 21.
“I and my colleagues are dedicated to identifying and implementing solutions to the problem that work for schools and for students, instilling hope and staving off despair,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director, in a statement on GLSEN’s website.
However, not everyone is onboard with a national effort to combat bullying. Republican presidential candidate, Michelle Bachman (R-MN), dismissed the issue at a rally in Costa Mesa, Calif. According to the Washington Blade, when questioned about what she intends to do about the pervasive issue of bullying targeted at LGBT youth, Bachaman replied, “That’s not a federal issue.”
Iowa’s Marriage Equality Law in Jeopardy
The balance of power is up for grabs in the Iowa state legislature, which could mean trouble for Iowa’s marriage equality law. Currently, Democrats have slim, one-seat majority, but that could change now that Sen. Swati Dandeker—who currently represents the Marion District—has been appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad to the Iowa Utilities Board. Although Dandeker is a Democrat, Marion is a district with more registered Republicans. According to DesMoinesRegister.com, if a Republican wins Dandeker’s seat in the special election on Nov. 8, there will be an even split in the senate, making it more difficult to pass more liberal legislation.
“It is a very good opportunity for Iowans to elect a pro-jobs fiscal conservative to get Iowa back on track,” said Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley. The potential change-up could also give the GOP an opportunity to move forward on issues that have previously been blocked, namely a proposal to amend the state constitution and eliminate marriage rights for same-sex couples. Iowa Democrats recognize the gravity of the Nov. 8 election.
“Maintaining our Democratic majority in the Iowa Senate is essential to protecting middle class Iowans and keeping our state moving forward,” said Iowa Democratic Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky in a statement on KeepTheMajority.com.