To date, in 2008, several young gender non-conforming people of color have been murdered, including California junior high school student Lawrence King, who was shot in public during the school day. King’s murder, and the murders of Simmie Williams in South Carolina and Angie Zappata in Greeley, Colorado come in a year in which we are still working to include transgender provisions in a federal bill to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual workers from discrimination in employment.
Hate crimes against transgender people suggest multiple points of vulnerability, which can compound each other: discrimination in employment may lead to unstable housing situations which in turn can leave transgender people at the mercy of public programs and public officials who may not respond respectfully or appropriately to them. These stressors add burdens in a health care system that is often unprepared for transgender people’s needs. The list goes on. “We know that transgender people face discrimination on multiple fronts,” said Mara Keisling (pictured), executive director of NCTE. “This data will help us sort out the combination of forces that leave transgender people vulnerable to unemployment, homelessness, and violence.”
Jaime Grant, director of the Task Force Policy Institute noted, “There is so little concrete data on the needs and risks associated with the widespread discrimination we see in the lives of the transgender people we know. This data will help point the way to an appropriate policy agenda to ensure that transgender people have a fair chance to contribute their talents in the workplace, in our educational systems and in our communities.”
NCTE and the Task Force have partnered with Pennsylvania State University’s Center for the Study of Higher Education to collect and analyze the data. Applying rigorous academic standards to the investigation will strengthen any case made to legislators, policy makers, health care providers, and others whose decisions impact the lives of transgender people. A national team of experts in survey research and transgender issues developed the questionnaire, which can be completed on-line here. Paper surveys can also be downloaded by going to the NCTE or Task Force websites.
Keisling notes: “This is an absolutely critical national effort. We urge all transgender and gender non-conforming people to take the survey to help guide us in making better laws and policies that will improve the quality of life for all transgender people. We need everyone’s voice in this, everyone’s participation.”
To participate in the survey, click here.