Attempted Suicide Rate for Multiracial Transgender People Thirty-three Times Higher than General Population
Racism and transphobia are deeply impacting the lives of multiracial (people of more than one race) transgender people in the US according to a new factsheet co-created by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and The Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC).
The fact sheet, the final installment of the Trans Justice/Racial Justice series based on the landmark report, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, indicates that multiracial transgender people are experiencing disproportionately higher levels of attempted suicide, poverty and unemployment.
“This is a wake-up call: racism and anti-trans discrimination together are having an appalling impact on multiracial transgender people’s lives, and it has to stop,” said Darlene Nipper, Task Force Deputy Executive Director. “Transgender people deserve a fair shot at the American Dream including access to good jobs that are free from discrimination. That’s why we need politicians to listen to the American public and pass important pieces of legislation such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act now.”
Specifically, the new factsheet shows that over half (54%) of multiracial respondents reported having attempted suicide, compared to 41% of all study respondents and 1.6% of the general U.S. population. Multiracial transgender and gender non-conforming people often live in extreme poverty, with 23% reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This is higher than the rate for transgender people of all races (15%), the general U.S. multiracial population rate (15%), and almost six times the general U.S. population rate (4%).
The one piece of good news in the report is that 37% of multiracial respondents reported experiencing significant family acceptance, and over half (61%) reported that their relationships with family slowly improved over time after coming out as transgender. Those respondents who were accepted by their families were much less likely to face discrimination and reported lower rates of homelessness, attempted suicide and HIV/AIDS.
The new factsheet completes a series of five spotlighting the experiences of Black respondents with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC); Latino and Latina respondents with the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander respondents with the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA); and American Indian and Alaskan Native respondents.
Television star, actress and activist Laverne Cox will be the keynote plenary speaker at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s 26th Annual National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change (Creating Change), in Houston, Texas, on Jan. 29–Feb. 2, 2014. Cox plays Sophia Burset, a transgender woman, in the hit Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black.”
“As an actress and a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activist, Laverne Cox is the real thing and we are delighted to have her be our keynote speaker,” said Sue Hyde, Creating Change Conference director. “She embodies the values of our conference, as she is passionate, pioneering and progressive.”
Creating Change is the nation’s premier LGBT progressive conference. Four thousand lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights advocates from across the country are expected to attend the Houston conference in January. For more information about the conference and to register, please visit www.CreatingChange.org and watch the video preview:
There will be workshop sessions, presentations, receptions and four dynamic plenary sessions. Participants may attend the pre-conference daylong institutes on Wednesday, Jan 29 and Thursday, Jan 30, as well as enjoy the Welcome to Houston Reception on the evening of Thursday, Jan. 30.
The conference also features the Task Force’s Academy for Leadership and Action sessions, on Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday Feb. 1 in which our team of Task Force organizers offer sophisticated trainings and strategy sessions on a range of issues.
Creating Change also features hundreds of skills-building workshops, more than 18 additional daylong institutes, receptions, caucuses, film screenings, networking sessions, hospitality suites, interfaith services and much more.
The Houston HIlton of the America’s is already filling up, so visit www.CreatingChange.org to make your hotel reservation now.
According to a new report released today, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers of color are among the most disadvantaged workers in America. Due to discrimination coupled with a lack of workplace protections, unequal job benefits and taxation, and unsafe, under-resourced U.S. schools, LGBT people of color face extraordinarily high rates of unemployment and poverty.
LGBT people are more racially and ethnically diverse than the U.S. Population as a whole
A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color presents the latest demographic information about LGBT workers of color, including:
- About one-third of LGBT people are people of color. In a 2012 Gallup poll, one in three LGBT respondents (33%) identified themselves as people of color, compared to 27% of non-LGBT respondents. In all, there are an estimated 5.4 million LGBT workers in the United States, of which 1.8 million are people of color.
- The geographic distribution of LGBT workers of color mirrors that of people of color as a whole. Census Data show LGBT people of color are more likely to live in areas with significant numbers of other people of color.
- Large numbers of LGBT workers of color are raising children. Data from the 2010 Census show that LGBT people of color are more likely to be raising children than white LGBT people. MAP estimates that between 780,000 and 1.1 million children are being raised by LGBT people of color.
- LGBT youth of color are at high risk of becoming homeless. An estimated 20-40% of homeless youth in the U.S. identify as LGBT or believe they may be LGBT. Research also shows that African American and Native American young people are overrepresented among LGBT homeless youth, as well as the broader homeless population. One study found that among homeless youth who identify as gay or lesbian, 44% identified as black and 26% as Latino.
- LGBT workers of color are at significant risk of being unemployed. LGBT people of color have higher rates of unemployment compared to non-LGBT people of color. In addition, unemployment rates for transgender people of color have reached as high as four times the national unemployment rate.
- LGBT workers of color are at significant risk of poverty. Research shows that LGBT people of color, and particularly black LGBT people, are at a much higher risk of poverty than non-LGBT people. For example, black same-sex couples have poverty rates at least twice the rate of black opposite-sex married couples (18% vs. 8%).
“Contrary to popular stereotypes, LGBT workers are more racially diverse than the general population, making it critical to address the unique obstacles they face,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition. “Bias and prejudice based on race, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression intersect to the detriment of LGBT workers of color.”
LGBT workers of color confront a dual burden of social stigma and discrimination
“Systemic barriers and inequities in the educational system make it harder for LGBT people of color to meet workforce qualifications,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of the Movement Advancement Project. “LGBT workers of color are also unfairly denied or lack access to job-related benefits that other workers take for granted, making it harder for these workers to earn a living and provide for their families.”
A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color examines how LGBT workers of color face unique challenges related to their race and ethnicity and their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in three areas:
Educational Barriers: LGBT youth of color are among the children who are most at risk of dropping through the cracks of the U.S. educational system. The reasons include: unsafe and under-resourced schools, a lack of support for LGBT students, and a “school-to-prison” pipeline that results in significant numbers of LGBT students of color entering the juvenile justice and correctional systems.
Hiring Bias and On-the-Job Discrimination: Barriers such as unwarranted background checks, inadequate or non-existent non-discrimination protection for LGBT workers, and the lack of mentorships and on-the-job support make it difficult for many LGBT workers of color to find good and steady jobs that provide them with the economic security they need to support themselves and their families.
Unequal Pay, Benefits and Taxation: LGBT workers of color receive unequal pay and unfair access to job-related benefits, leaving them with less to care for themselves and their families—even if they are doing the same jobs and working just as hard as other workers.
“While there are laws in place to help protect workers from discrimination based on race and ethnicity, it is still legal to fire or refuse to hire someone on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in the majority of states,” said Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President of External Affairs at CAP. “Addressing this gap in federal law is one more step forward in the march for equality and justice for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
Common-sense solutions can reduce unfair barriers to success for LGBT workers of color
“Fixing the broken bargain for LGBT workers of color will help ensure that they are treated fairly no matter where they work, that they receive the same compensation for the same work, and that they can access important benefits available to other workers to protect their health and livelihood,” said Tico Almeida, President of Freedom to Work. A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers offers detailed recommendations for action to fix the broken bargain for LGBT workers of color by the federal, state, and local governments, as well as colleges, universities, and employers. Recommendations include:
Eliminate or reduce educational barriers for LGBT youth of color by passing the federal Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) in an effort to reduce discrimination and bullying in schools.
Eliminate or reduce bias and discrimination against LGBT workers of color by passing federal legislation to ban employment discrimination nationwide on the basis of gender identity/expression and sexual orientation.
Secure equal pay and benefits for LGBT workers of color by increasing federal and state protections against wage discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression and increasing access to good jobs with good benefits for LGBT workers of color.
“America has passed numerous laws and policies based on an understanding that protecting the interests of workers and their families is good for the economy and good for the country. It is time for those protections to extend to LGBT workers of color,” said Jeff Krehely, Vice President and Chief Foundation Officer at the Human Rights Campaign.
A Broken Bargain for LGBT Workers of Color, a companion to the recently released report, A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits, and More Taxes for LGBT Workers, is co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Center for American Progress (CAP) and its FIRE Initiative, Freedom to Work, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), in partnership with ColorofChange, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the National Action Network, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, and SEIU.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund applauds the historic vote by the Hawaii Legislature to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.
The Senate, voted 19-4 today to approve the bill and the House of Representatives passed it last Friday. The governor, who called for a special legislative session just to consider this bill, has vowed to sign it into law. Hawaii joins 15 other states, along with Washington D.C., to afford the freedom to marry to all loving couples.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund:
The fight for the freedom to marry for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people started in the Aloha State two decades ago. This makes today’s victory all the sweeter for Hawaii families. Clearly, the national momentum for the option of marriage for same-sex couples keeps rolling-on and across our entire nation. We congratulate Hawaii United for Marriage on their efforts to make the 50th state the next state to have marriage equality.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund celebrates today’s huge victory as the U.S. Senate just passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with a vote of 64 to 32.
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund:
This is a huge historic victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families. Most Americans believe that everyone should have access to the American Dream, free from discrimination because of who they are or who they love. We thank the senators who voted to pass ENDA in a bipartisan fashion.
Workplace discrimination negatively impacts all LGBT people. According to the 2008 General Social Survey, 42 percent of LGBT people overall have experienced at least one form of employment discrimination during their lives.
The trans community is disproportionately impacted as was noted in Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a joint study by the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. The study found 26 percent of transgender people lost a job and 50 percent were harassed for being transgender. And people of color generally reported higher levels of abuse than survey respondents as a whole.
The Task Force has long advocated for the passage of employment nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people. U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug (D-N.Y.), in collaboration with the Task Force, introduced the Equality Act of 1974, a federal bill to ban discrimination against lesbians, gay men, unmarried persons and women in employment, housing and public accommodations.
ENDA was first introduced in Congress in 1994 and the Task Force has been there every step of the way. At the time ENDA was first introduced it included only protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. In 2007 gender identity protections were added to ENDA for the first time. We continued to fight for the passage of an inclusive ENDA in both houses of Congress to provide clear employment protections for LGBT workers under federal law.
To read a timeline of the Task Force’s work to secure employment nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, go here.
“We urge the U.S. House of Representatives to follow the U.S. Senate’s bipartisanship and to speedily approve ENDA. This is a popular issue with the American people, at a time when the House is deeply unpopular. Passing ENDA is the right thing to do — and it may also help to restore some public confidence in this component of our democratic institutions,” Carey said.
The U.S. Senate is considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination. Pedro Julio Serrano, spokesperson for the Task Force, discusses ENDA with journalist Juan Carlos López on DirectoUSA on CNN en Español. Watch the interview in Spanish below.
El Senado de Estados Unidos está considerando ENDA, un proyecto de ley federal para prohibir el discrimen en el empleo a las personas lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transgéneros y transexuales (LGBTT). Pedro Julio Serrano, portavoz del Task Force conversa con el periodista Juan Carlos López en el programa DirectoUSA que se transmite por CNN en Español. Mira la entrevista aquí:
The U.S. Senate is poised to take a historic vote today on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The Senate moved the legislation forward on Monday with a 61-30 cloture vote and has been debating the measure this week. The final vote is expected to take place at 1:45 PM ET today.
In addition to the fact that no one should face the injustice of being fired for who you are or who you love, this week a study reports that not having federal LGBT workplace protections costs our economy $64 Billion each year.
We urge you to call your senators now and tell them to vote YES on ENDA. Dial 1-877-604-8551 to be connected.