Though the fight for recognition, acceptance, and equality of transgender Americans is making progress, there is still much more to be done. Despite New York State laws prohibiting discrimination against gender expression in the workplace and in health care settings, New York and America are still not safe or comfortable places for many in the trans community. In the U.S., acts of violence against transgender people—especially trans women of color—continue at alarming rates.
November 20 is Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), an annual observance of lives lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. TDOR 2020 honors those who died between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. According to PFLAG, 47 lives were reported lost in the U.S. (the true number may be much higher), and 386 worldwide; this includes death by violence, by self-harm, from COVID-19, and from causes yet to be determined. The week leading up to TDOR (November 13—20) is Trans Awareness Week, which helps raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people and address the issues faced by the community.
On November 18, from 4 to 5:30 pm, Amida Care is hosting a special Trans Day of Remembrance free Zoom webinar, Your Health, Your Journey. Panelists include Zil Goldstein, Associate Medical Director for TGNB Health, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center; Asa Radix, Senior Director of Research and Education, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center; Lailani Muniz, Chief Operation Officer, NYTBF LLC (New York Transgender Bodybuilding Federation); Sabastian Roy, Founder and Owner, NYTBF LLC; and Ceyenne Doroshow, Performer, Activist, Organizer, Community-Based Researcher and Public Figure. The event will be hosted by Coach B. To join, click here.
Barriers to Health Care
The Trump administration has taken many actions against transgender and LGBTQ people, as detailed by the National Center for Transgender Equality. In August a federal judge temporarily blocked a move to erase health care protections against discrimination for transgender patients.
Additionally, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted the trans community, including elevated risk of exposure to the virus and its adverse outcomes, delays in access to gender-affirming care, and diminished access to social support, which is crucial to protecting against the effects of stigma and discrimination.
Systemic discrimination against transgender people has devastating health effects, as reported in Amida Care’s comprehensive report, Breaking Barriers to Transgender Health Care, which also details health challenges and solutions for the transgender community. Recommendations include physical, sexual, mental, and behavioral health care that is accessible, affordable, and delivered by providers who are both skilled in trans care and provide services in a trans-affirming manner.
Workplace discrimination against transgender people is against the law. Yet, trans people face higher rates of unemployment (18% in New York State), and people of transgender experience are 2.4 times more likely to be living in poverty than the general population.
The National Center for Gender Equality offers information regarding workplace rights for transgender and gender non-conforming people, including the right not to be fired or refused a job or promotion, and the right to safe and adequate access to restrooms and other facilities consistent with gender identity.
Discrimination can also take the form of micro-aggressions and other subtle forms of abuse that make the workplace an uncomfortable place. The Human Rights Commission’s Trans Toolkit for Employers provides a blueprint for making the workplace a welcoming environment for transgender people.
What Cisgender People Can Do
There are many ways to help create safer spaces for trans people, and various resources are available for cisgender people to stay aware and informed, such as GLAAD Tips for Allies of Transgender People and VICE: 100 Easy Ways to Make the World Better for Trans People. Specific actions like respecting a person’s preferred pronouns and learning correct terminology can go a long way. We must all work together to create a culture of advocacy and acceptance.
- Amida Care’s Guide to Transgender Resources and Services in NYC
- Amida Care’s Breaking Barriers to Transgender Health Care
- The Anti-Violence Project
- Trans Lifeline
- NYC Commission on Human Rights’ Gender Identity/Gender Expression Legal Enforcement Guide
- LGBT Bar NYC
- ACLU Trans Ally Tool Kit
- New York Trans Advocacy Group
- Translatinx Network
- The Trevor Project
- Safe Horizon