“Transgender” is a term that describes people whose gender identity of expression does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender is solely about someones gender identity, and has nothing to do with things like sexual orientation. “Nearly 700,000 adults in the US identify as transgender, according to 2011 research by the Williams Institute at the UCLA”. Being transgender means different things to different people, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). A people’s internal sense of being female, male, or something else is their gender identity.
The transgender community faces numerous obstacles daily, negatively effecting their daily life including healthcare, harassment, legal protection, and poverty. “The National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) found that 15 percent of respondents were living in severe poverty (making less than $10,000/year). For transgender people of color, those rates were even higher, with 34 percent of Black and 28 percent of Latina/o respondents reporting a household income of less than $10,000 a year (Human Rights Campaign).” With such low annual income, the ability to provide substantial housing along with clothing and food becomes very difficult. Regarding health care, it inst uncommon for the transgender community to face bias and in turn be turned away from health care. Harassment within society tends to be the most prominent obstacle that the transgender community seems to face. “The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force surveyed 6,450 transgender individuals in the United States in 2011. Of those surveyed, 41 percent reported that they had attempted suicide compared to 1.6 percent in the general population. Also, 64 percent had been sexually assaulted, and 55 percent had lost a job due to their identity.” This sickening harassment, as shown in the statistics, can cause a decline in mental health.
Despite so many upsetting problems the transgender community faces, they have been able to come together as one and do many powerful things. One of the most recent things, that has been recognized around the world, is gender neutral restrooms. Especially in such a diverse city like San Francisco, the accessibility for gender neutral bathrooms has significantly increased over the past year. A new act passed in March 1, 2017 has required all single stall bathrooms to be labeled as gender neutral, rather than an individual gender, according to SHRM.org. In such a diverse society we live in today, not everyone falls under a very easy “black and white” gender, such as “male or female”. These gender neutral bathrooms safely allow all gender identities to use this restroom safely without the fear or fines. Also, now in the state of California, it is illegal for health care providers to discriminate against transgender people beginning in 2005.
There are visibility which are positive images of transgender people in the media and society continues to make a critical difference in the US, but visibility is not enough and comes with risks to their safety, especially for those who are not getting the support they need. That is why the Human Rights Campaign is committed to continue to support and advocate for the transgender community so that the transgender Americans have n equal chance to succeed and thrive. There are things we can do to show support for the transgender community. We could learn more terminology. Trans language is always changing and important to know. For example, using the wrong pronouns or making assumptions about others identities is wrongful. It is vital that we respect the names and pronouns that people prefer. It is impossible to know without asking. If you are not sure ask, “what are your preferred pronouns?”. This could ensure the person would not feel disrespected.