The place of transgender and gender variant people in American society is rapidly changing. Another marker of this change was issued this summer by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The APA formed a task force on the treatment of gender identity disorder (GID) – the psychiatric label the APA assigned to transgender people in 1980 – to “perform a critical review of the literature on the treatment of GID at different ages, to assess the quality of evidence pertaining to treatment, and to prepare a report that included an opinion as to whether or not sufficient credible literature exists for development of treatment recommendations by the APA.” Continue reading
What happens when you’re transgender and living in the middle of rural America and need specialized medical care?
The patient at the center of this story is only 20 years old, but his story, written up in The Daily Iowan on April 4, 2012, is instructive. Like many transgender people — one study says the figure is 50% — he had to educate his health care providers about transgender health care. Luckily, it worked. Not only did he eventually get the health care he needed, but activism by him and his colleagues is beginning to change the climate in Iowa City. For a more recent story that indicates there are still problems — but also that even more efforts are underway to correct them — see the Iowa City Patch article here.
Need data to back up your advocacy for employment non-discrimination legislation for LGBT workers? Six hundred and eighty pages of it has been compiled into a new docuemnt available at http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/05/pdf/lgbt_eo_research.pdf
The compilation, put together by the Williams Institute, the Human Rights Campaign, and Center for American Progress, groups the documents into six categories: employment discrimination and the LGBT workforce; the business case for LGBT workplace protections; public opinion and political support for equal opportunity; impact and legal issues regarding an LGBT nondiscrimination executive order; and miscellaneous. The first category contains only one document, a policy memo (inexplicably still labeled “Confidential — not for circulation”) making the case for why President Obama should issue an Executive Order banning federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.
Although none of the documents’ titles indicate they cover how employment discrimination leads to income dispararities and physical, social, and emotional problems in old age, there is obviously a clear link that can (and should) be made. Please let us at GrayPrideParade know if you know of documents that discuss the linkages.
One of the most important requirements for a decent old age is having enough income to pay for housing, medications, food, and other necessities of life. Many LGBT elders have trouble meeting that requirement due to lifelong employment discrimination. On April 23, 2012, a ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) became a key step in correcting this discrepancy, especially for transgender elders. Continue reading
“Intersectionality” is a big term that means something simple: if you belong to more than one minority group, you’re likely to have even more problems than peers who belong to just one of those minority groups. There’s no better example of the results of intersectionality than a new publication issued by the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
“Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey,” is a four-page fact sheet that highlights findings from the 381 NTDS respondents who said they were both Black or Black multiracial and transgender. While these respondents were of every age, it is critical to remember that the economic, health, and social problems people have as young and middle-aged adults lay the groundwork for even more economic, health, and social problems in old age. Continue reading
Too often news and social media outlets tell us about some outrageous homophobic or transphobic behavior on the part of some business, and never tell us “what happened next.”
“What happened next” is the title of a column in Indiana’s Star Press dated July 9, 2011, that follows up on a July 2010 case that garnered national attention. The incident took place at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana. A transgender woman said that she was called “it” and “he-she” when she went to the hospital’s emergency room coughing up blood, and was ultimately denied treatment. She complained widely and loudly, and engaged Indiana Equality and the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance in filing formal complaints against the hospital, which “quickly released a statement saying the hospital was conducting an internal review of its ‘care policies, employee benefits, and diversity training.’” Continue reading
The Caring and Aging with Pride study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging, has published preliminary findings of its nationwide survey of 2,560 LGBT adults aged 50 to 95.
FORGE’s Transgender Aging Network was one of 11 partnering groups that helped recruit participants in the study and that are helping shape and disseminate its results. The 4-page preliminary report briefly covers key findings about service needs, physical and mental health, health strengths and risks, health care access, and health behaviors. The full report will be available in Fall 2011.
This report, The Health Report: Resilience and Disparities among LGBT Older Adults, includes the following highlights:
- Nearly one-half of LGBT older adults have a disability and nearly one-third report depression.
- Two-thirds experience verbal harassment and 40% physical violence.
- Among transgender older adults, 22% need to see a doctor but cannot due to cost.
- Most LGBT older adults (91%) engage in wellness activities.
- 88% feel good about belonging to the LGBT community.
- 15% fear receiving health services outside the LGBT community.
- Two-thirds report the need for senior housing, social events and transportation.
You can access the preliminary report at http://depts.washington.edu/agepride/docs/Prelimin_Findings_Report_FINAL.pdf
Its employees represent only a small proportion of the U.S. labor force, but when it comes to symbolism, probably no agency can set a better non-discrimination standard than the U.S. Department of Labor.
And that’s what DOL Secretary Hilda Solis did this month when she announced that, as part of her commitment to have a “model workplace, free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, which fosters a work environment that fully utilizes the capabilities of every employee,” DOL was adding gender identity (and pregnancy) to its list of protected classes.
Employment discrimination is very much related to aging issues, as retirement income is almost solely based on how much earned income people are able to command during their working lives. If young and middle-aged transgender adults are discriminated against in the workplace and hence command lower salaries than they otherwise would, this discrimination will follow them the rest of their lives, resulting in lower pensions and Social Security benefits. And as the recent national Transgender Discrimination Study (http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf) documents, employment discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming workers is rampant.
This action is but one more in a long series of ground-breaking steps the Obama Administration has taken to advance LGBT rights wherever that can be done without Congressional approval. You can read Secretary Solis’s statement at http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/crc-internal/eeo.htm
Exactly how much would a Lesbian or Gay couple lose over their lifetimes, given current discriminatory laws and benefits?
The New York Times found out the answer isn’t simple. They created scenarios in which Lesbian couples and Gay male couples had two children (with one partner staying home to care for the children for five years), made $140,000 a year, lived in New York, California, or Florida, were together for 46 years, and in which the first partner died at age 81. They further looked at income variables through two scenarios: in one, both made the same amount; in the other couple, one person made $110,000 and the other, $30,000. Continue reading