Labor & Employment
Report: ‘Staggering’ Rate of Attempted Suicides by Transgenders Highlights Injustices
Posted Feb 4, 2011 9:29 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Ninety percent of transgender and gender nonconforming people report harassment, discrimination and mistreatment on the job, and the injustices they face have devastating economic and personal consequences, according to a new survey.
A “staggering” 41 percent of the more than 6,400 respondents said they had attempted suicide, compared to a rate of 1.6 percent for the general population, according to the survey (PDF) by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. The respondents had double the rate of unemployment and were four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000 compared to the general population.
Forty-seven percent said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion, because of being transgender or gender noncomforming.
The discrimination extended to the justice system, though it wasn’t as widespread as workplace bias. Twenty-nine percent reported police harassment or disrespect, and 12 percent said they had been denied equal treatment or harassed by judges or court officials. Thirteen percent reported that a court or judge stopped or limited their relationships with children because of their transgender identity or gender nonconformity.
According to the executive summary (PDF), the report is “a call to action for all of us, especially for those who pass laws and set policies and practices.” Federal, state and local laws should be enacted to prohibit discrimination on the basis or gender identity of expression, the report says, and companies should adopt their own nondiscrimination policies.
The study also calls for education of family court judges that it is in the best interests of the child to remain in a relationship with a transgender or gender nonconforming parent.
“Transgender and gender nonconforming people face injustice at every turn,” the report says, “in childhood homes, in school systems that promise to shelter and educate, in harsh and exclusionary workplaces, at the grocery store, the hotel front desk, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, before judges and at the hands of landlords, police officers, health care workers and other service providers.”