TRCF’s Social Justice Calendar series celebrates the days, weeks, and months that have been dedicated to human rights issues. By highlighting these lesser known but equally important holidays, TRCF hopes to raise awareness of the ongoing struggle for social justice marked by these occasions.
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Although recent years have brought slow but sure progress in the struggle for equality, not every marginalized group has benefitted equally. Transgender people in particular still face prejudice and discrimination in virtually all aspects of their lives, much of it the result of public ignorance about transgender issues. August 7 was declared Transgender International Rights and Education Day as a reminder that all of us have the same human rights and freedoms, regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The day is meant to raise awareness of the obstacles that transgender people continue to face everyday, and to honor the courage of those who refuse to hide their true selves for the sake of public approval.
In November 2009, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force conducted a survey of 6,450 transgender people from all 50 US states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands about employment, education, health care, housing, public accommodation, criminal justice, family life and access to government documents. They found the following results:
- Double the rate of unemployment: Survey respondents experience unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole.
- Near universal harassment on the job: Ninety-seven percent (97%) of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job.
- Significant losses of jobs and careers: Forty-seven percent (47%) had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion.
- High rates of poverty: Fifteen percent (15%) of transgender people surveyed lived on $10,000 per year or less – double the percentage of the general population.
- Significant housing instability: Nineteen percent (19%) have been or are homeless, 11% have faced eviction, and 26% were forced to seek temporary space.
For a more personal look at the lives of transgender people, check out TransGeneration, an eight-episode documentary series which follows four transgender college students as they attempt to balance college, their social lives, and their struggle to merge their internal and external selves while gender transitioning.
Watch the beginning of TransGeneration Episode 1 here:
Read the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s complete report.
Learn more about the struggle for transgender equality.