Black transgender men and women face "extreme discrimination and poverty", are more than likely to suffer from violence, physical or sexual abuse, police brutality, HIV/AIDS and bullying in school. Those are the conclusions of a first of its kind survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Black Justice Coalition.
Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey collected data from more than 6,500 transgender Americans and found that all transgender people face severe bias ranging from housing and health care to education and employment.
But when researchers took a deeper look at the discrimination that the black respondents faced (pdf) -- all 381 of them -- the data jumped out at them. "What was really poignant were these stark differences. In every case, black respondents fared worse than the nonblack respondents in the national survey," says Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "This is because black transgender people face anti-transgender bias coupled with structural and institutionalized racism."
Monica Roberts, a 49-year-old black transgender activist and founder of the award-winning blog TransGriot, wasn't shocked by Injustice at Every Turn's findings -- they reflect what advocates have been saying for years. "There is this saying that when white America has a cold, black America has a fever. Well, when black America has a fever, black transgender America has pneumonia."
The employment-discrimination data alone support Roberts' train of thought. Overall, black unemployment is at an all-time high at 16.7 percent, but 26 percent of black transgender people are unemployed -- that's three times the rate of the general public and twice that of the rest of the transgender community. And while a crippling economy is a serious factor behind the statistics, it's important to note that current laws -- in 35 states it's perfectly legal to fire or not hire someone because he or she is transgender -- exacerbate these unemployment numbers.
The disparities are sobering.
20 percent of black respondents are HIV positive (the general black population's HIV prevalence rate is 2.4 percent); 21 percent of those who were attending school as transgender people had to leave because the harassment was so severe; 41 percent have been homeless in the past (five times the rate of the general U.S. population); 29 percent of those who had been in jail or prison reported being physically assaulted, and 32 percent reported being sexually assaulted; and 34 percent reported not seeking medical attention when injured or sick for fear of being discriminated against in health care settings.
One of the most shocking findings was that nearly half of the black respondents reported having attempted suicide at least once in their lives -- this rate was higher than that of any other racial group in the survey. ...
Sharon J. Lettman, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, is confident that the report will be a wake-up call for what African Americans need to do as a community. "Our black transgender sisters and brothers are black people, too, and we have to love them better."
Terrell adds: "Despite the increase in positive media coverage around LGBT issues -- and shows such as Glee, Modern Family and True Blood that raise the national consciousness around what it means to be gay or lesbian -- it's hard to deny that transgender people, especially African Americans, are somewhat left out of that national conversation."
The vast majority of anti-trans violence in the U.S. targets Black and Latina trans women. Most cases of homicide of Black and Latina trans women remain unsolved. In recent years on R20, we've seen plenty of the cases, such as the horrific daylight stabbing of Nana Boo Mack, Lateisha Green case, a transgender shooting in Milawukee, the fatal shooting in New Orleans, and several recent shootings in Memphis.
This summer witnessed a series of anti-trans attacks in our nation's capital, such as the tragic killing of Lashai McLean, the 23-year-old transgender woman brutally gunned down on a Washington DC street. Police have made no arrests.
Read the full article at The Root ...