Hawaii Rep. Chris Lee is believed likely to vote for the state’s marriage equality bill, which is heading to the House after passing easily in the Senate. He’s received a great deal of praise from constituents — and a written death threat delivered to his home.
It comes as no surprise that due to less-than-optimal workplace protections and shamefully high rates of discrimination, LGBT workers of color are one of the most disadvantaged populations in the American workforce today.
But a new report co-authored by a number of LGBT, POC and social justice organizations looks at the current situation for LGBT workers of color, considering this population’s range of demographics and recommending policy changes that could help fix the problem.
As we know, coming off of a great deal of conversation about ENDA, LGBT people lack workplace protections in most of the country. A number of other factors demonstrate how the intersection of being a person of color as well as queer can make it extremely difficult to find gainful employment. ThinkProgress broke it down here:
LGBT people are more likely to identify as people of color compared to non-LGBT people. In a 2012 Gallup poll, for instance, 33 percent of LGBT respondents identified as people of color, compared to 27 percent of non-LGBT respondents.
Black Americans were the most likely to identify as LGBT, and research shows that black LGBT people, in particular, are at a much higher risk of poverty than other groups.
LGBT people of color are more likely to be raising children than their white LGBT counterparts, with estimates of between 780,000 and 1.1 million children being raised by LGBT people of color.
LGBT people of color are at a much higher risk of poverty than non-LGBT people. For example, black same-sex couples have poverty rates at least twice the rates of black different-sex married couples – 18 percent versus 8 percent.
More specific factors that tend to disproportionately affect queer people of color, ThinkProgress adds, are the school-to-prison pipeline, unwarranted background checks, unequal pay and inadequate workplace protections. The moral of the story is that we’ve got a lot of work to do. Additional thoughts?
Rita’s Mom, Kathleen, flanked by her brother Darryl and Nancy Nangeroni on the streets of Allston.
Each November we meet to observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance (#TDOR). This most visible event of the year for our community, observed in cities and college campuses around the world, grew out of a series of Boston-area protests against the murders of transgender persons. The last of these catalyzed a response that extended beyond our community and grows to this day.
Rita Hester, an outgoing black transwoman who had been popular in both the transgender and Allston rock-n-roll communities, was brutally stabbed to death in November of 1998. Media accounts of her death were transphobic and disrespectful, outraging the trans community as well as Rita’s many friends. A speak-out and candlelight vigil in Allston drew an unprecedented crowd of over 250. A struggle over the media’s disrespectful use of pronouns and refusal to acknowledge her gender (even in stories by Boston’s only LGBT newspaper) garnered national attention. Trans activists in San Francisco took note, calling for an annual “Day of Remembrance” that grew into this international event.
Some people ask why our community’s most visible event has to be so sorrowful. Why can’t we do something a little more positive?
The answer is that we can–and must–do both. We need this event and this focus on the continuing persecution of transgender people – especially those of color – in order to raise awareness outside of our community to the brutalities and injustices that we suffer. Everyone in our community matters and deserves to be remembered, and when this long-standing epidemic of anti-trans violence is made visible, it helps illuminate for those outside the community our pressing need for civil and human rights. But we also need to celebrate and focus on our many strengths, potentials, and accomplishments in order to build ourselves a foundation on which we can stand tall and proud of who and what we are.
Six years ago, MTPC responded to this need by calling for a Transgender Awareness Week (#TransWK) to be held during the week leading up to TDOR. Trans Awareness Week is our opportunity to hold as many different kinds of events as we wish. It is our chance to talk about transgender struggles and triumphs with ourselves and with others, to help them understand what needs to change in order to make the world safer and more fair for transgender people, and for all people hurt by the dual gender system.
We live in a time when people are waking up to the injustices and persecutions suffered by people of all kinds of difference. We’re fortunate to witness a growing public commitment to fairness and respect for transgender people. This happens because of efforts like TDOR and TAW, which must continue in order to complete our transition to a society fully respectful of individual difference, gender or otherwise. Key to our success is the creation and sustenance of communities that bring us together in mutual caring, and collaboration among our many communities. We are each unique and have many differences, but our ability to cherish one another’s inner spirit despite those differences is the light that will guide us to even better tomorrows.
To promote effective writing by, about, and/or for Queer Youth, Queer Foundationoffers to the winners of the Ninth Annual High School Seniors English Essay Contest $1,000 Scholarships to attend the US College or University of their choice in the 2014–15 Academic Year to study Queer Theory or Related Fields.
Examples of Related Fields are Queer Medical, Legal, or Social Issues. Deadline: February 14, 2014
Couples in New Jersey have been celebrating the arrival of marriage equality and the end of Governor Chris Christie’s challenge to the cause.
Beginning at midnight on Monday, October 21, gay and lesbian couples throughout the state were legally married, starting with Joanne Schailey and Beth Asaro, who have been together for 27 years. Since their relationship began decades ago, Joanne told Gay Star News, “it’s a whole different world now.”