The Discrimination Against Transgender People. In today’s American society, there are many social norms that people are expected to live by. Women are the nurturers, caring for and raising children, and also keeping the household. Men are the providers, working long in the day to make sure his family has everything that they may need, they are the protecters, and heads of the household. But with every social norm, there is a group of individuals who challenge those social norms. With every broken social norm, come a great deal of danger, dangers of discrimination, physical violence, and segregation are some of the things that one can expect.
One group of individuals that suffers from discrimination is the transgendered community. As defined in Marriam-Webster’s dictionary, a transgendered individual identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth. As with many areas of social class and standing that is “different”, the transgendered community has had to deal with discrimination, physical violence, and undue stereotypes. In an article written by the Daily Collegian of Penn State University, which focused its attention on Speak Out, an activist group that is based out of Penn State.
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The group went on to hold their biweekly meeting to discuss “bi-phobia and trans-phobia”. One of the main topics of the discussion was stereotypes. There have been many stereotypes associated with transgendered individuals, some of which include “Bi-now, gay later”, “it”, and the most common of all, “tranny”. In an interview with the moderator of the discussion, and member of the transgender community, Renee Recpell stated that the biggest problem she has ever had to deal with was that she is neither gay nor straight, this lead to feelings of animosity and rejection from the gay community and the straight community (“Stereotypes Discussed”).
In a study called “Injustice at Every Turn” was organized to see just how pervasive discrimination against the transgender community was. The study was conducted by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. The findings of the study were quiet shocking. The results of the study were based on the responses of close to 6,500 participants, all of which were either transgendered, and gender non-conforming Americans. The study spanned a wide range of areas, including education, health care, employment and housing.
Some of the key findings of the study show the level of discrimination that the transgender community endures. With household income of less than $10,000, the participants were nearly four times as likely to be living in extreme poverty, and were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Many of those who were surveyed stated that they had experienced some sort of workplace harassment and other mistreatment in the workplace, along with 25 percent of which were fired due to their gender identity or expression.
Another problem that was reported was homelessness, and being turned down for housing. 19 percent of people stated that they had recently been turned down for ownership of a home or apartment, with 11 percent of people having been evicted from their current dwelling. The participants’ skin color also played a huge role, as African-American transgender respondents fared much worse than the white transgendered respondents in a similar study done by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Unemployment rates among the participants reached a staggering 26 percent, which was twice as much as the general transgendered population, and nearly four times the rate of the general population. 34 percent of the African- American transgendered had experienced homelessness. One of the biggest problems, if not the biggest problem that African-American transgendered community faces is the exposure to the HIV virus. According to the study, a devastating 20. 23 percent of those who participated in the survey were living with HIV, compared to the rate of 2. 64 percent for the general transgendered community(“New Analysis”).
Though the transgender community has faced much discrimination through the years, they remain strong and optimistic, with 78 percent stating that they feel more comfortable at work, and they all saw an improvement in their work performance after they have made the transition from male to female (“Groundbreaking Study”). Even with such a high number of transgendered individuals feeling more comfortable in the workplace, they are still the targets of discrimination, and worst of all, they are prime targets for physical violence. In an article done by Rebecca L.
Stotzer, she writes about the violence that the transgendered community has to go through. Though much of the violence is physical, the most common, and more frequently documented for of violence has been sexual violence. Sexual violence is the best documented form of violence that is experienced by the transgendered community, which includes sexual assault and rape. Stotzer goes on to state that 50 percent of all transgendered individuals reported that they were a part of unwanted sexual activity, and reports also showed that 59 percent of individuals reported a history of forced sex or rape (Stotzer, 172).
While analyzing past data, Stotzer noticed a disturbing trend among sexual violence which involved transgendered youths. One of the many studies she analyzed showed that many first rapes occurred in the early teens. The median for female to male being 14 years of age, and 15 years of age for male to female transgressors (Stotzer, 172). So what motivates someone to commit an act of violence towards a transgendered individual? There are some factors that would lead someone to commit this sort of sexual violence. The studies which were conducted provided solid insights as to what would be substantial motivation to commit such crimes.
The evidence has shown that many sexual crimes are committed upon the transgendered is the pure hatred or negative attitudes one might have toward them. In a study conducted by Xavier et al. , 13 percent of all transgendered individuals reported having been victims of sexual assault or rape. While 43 percent of those victims firmly believed that the motivation for the assault was homophobia, and another 35 percent reported that transphobia was the motivation of the violence (Stotzer, 172). While the motivation for sexually based violence is widely known, the perpetrators of such violence has begun to come to light.
In a study conducted by Risser et al. , findings self-report surveys pointed to a large percentage of perpetrators of sexual violence turned out to be people who have had close connections to the transgendered individual. Findings pointed to 16 percent of the 67 participating male to female transgendered had been forced to have sex with a casual partner, and an astounding 25 percent of said individuals had been forced to have sex by their primary partner (Stotzer, 127). Even more evidence to support these findings came from the Xavier et al. tudies. Xavier et al. ’s findings resulted in 35 percent of transgendered individuals had been forced to have sex with a person who lived in the victim’s household during the time of the attack. For male to female transgendered individuals who have entered the world of prostitution, the most common perpetrator were their customers at 60 percent, someone else at 40 percent and lastly, their pimp at 20 percent (Stotzer, 127). Aside from the sexual violence that has been experienced, many transgendered individuals fall victim to physical violence.