Assessing violence and discrimination against the transgender community

1 Dec

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While transgender individuals are a part of the LGBT community, the manner in which they are treated by society as a whole has been pointed out as being significantly skewed in regards to the number of legal issues they often face. While acceptance and understanding of gay, lesbian and bisexual people have increased greatly over the last quarter century, the transgender community is in many regards in a very distinct and different situation.

 In regard to the societal view of the transgender community, most people consider all transgenders to be transsexual simply because they do not understand the many distinct identities that fall under that umbrella term. Because for many transgender people one of the biggest accomplishments they seek in their journey to self identity and presentation is the ability to pass as they gender they identify as, many are for lack of a better term, invisible. They walk through life day to day not exhibiting any signs that they are in fact gender variant. Because of that, when people are identified as or identify them self as such, it is often a surprise which can elicit negativity.
Furthermore, because the transgender community is the minority group of the LGBT which is already a minority, there is often a feeling of being underrepresented or unrepresented by legislation that could serve to protect them. Consider for a moment that of transgender people surveyed, 56% report having been fired from their jobs on the basis of what they believe is gender identity based discrimination. Another 47% responded that they feel they have been denied employment based on their gender identity. An additional 21% report having been physically or verbally harassed in the workplace based on their gender identity. While it can be said that some people may be looking for a darker motive regarding their dismissal from a job or not landing job, there are also others that may have been discriminated against that failed to report it or rationalized another reason.

Then there is the issue of hate crimes. Based on the last full issue of LGBT hate crimes statistics in the US from 2008, of about 1,700 reported hate crimes, about 15% were against transgender individuals which is a tremendous disparity. In order for the numbers to be clearer, consider the following: If 5% of the population is homosexual, and there is an arena with 10,000 people in it, that is 500 GLB persons present. That also would equate to approximately 20 transgender identified people, onebeing a postoperative MTF, and a little under 1/3 of a postoperative FTM transsexual person. That means the proportion of hate crimes targeted against the transgender community is extremely high.

If all things were equal, each segment of the LGBT would share an equal 25% of the hate crimes reported. However, as all things are not equal. Transgender identified people make up about .2% of the population as a whole and about and about 4% of the LGBT as a whole. That 4% is the victim of 15% pf the reported hate crimes meaning that a transgender person is 38.25% more likely to be the victim of an LGBT based hate crime than a gay, lesbian or bisexual person.

What is saddening is that no real legislation has been put in place to comprehensively protect the basic human rights of transgender people. Small steps have been taken at the federal level like allowing transgender identified intervals with proper medical documentation to change the sex field on their passport and like identification as a result, but little progress has been made otherwise. The US government as a whole has lagged far behind the private sector in regards to equality protections, but even then it is generally the domain of large corporations like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Chase and the like who do so.
While initiatives like “I AM” have been working diligently to raise awareness to such issues, grassroots campaigns of that nature have been slow to build and even slower to find wide acceptance. In the final analysis of violence and discrimination against the transgender community, currently and for the foreseeable future it is one of the most at risk segments of society in the US.
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