While I was at Creating Change I had the honor of interviewing Jabriel Walthour for SameSexSunday. Jabriel made the brave and bold step into the public eye to speak about her life as an African American transgender person. She helped put a face and a life behind startling statistics that were released by the Task Force in a study called, Injustice At Every Turn.
The study revealed the horrifying truth that life for Transgender people is indisputably difficult in this country:
- 78% of Transgender people report being harassed during their K-12 Education
- One Fifth report being discriminated against by a government agency
- 29% reported police harassment
- 41% attempted suicide
- 60% attempted suicide who worked in underground economies
These statistics are just a small sample that overwhelmingly prove our country has a serious problem, but now that we have the hard data, what next? What can gays and lesbians do to help their transgender loved ones live in a more just society?
I have several suggestions, but I want to hear from transgender people. I want you to tell me what I and others can do today, tomorrow, and over the next year to help create a more just society with you.
Here are my suggestions that were inspired by the data:
- Be a friend. Be there for your transgender friends. 57% of respondents report some form of family rejection. Why not open your home and hearts?
- Work with your employer to establish policies that protect transgender people from harassment such as creating gender neutral bathrooms, benefits that help pay for transitioning, and management development opportunities.
- If you own your own business, hire a qualified transgender person this week.
- Work with local police departments to do sensitivity training about transgender people.
- Calling all lawyers! Volunteer at local prisons. Identify transgender people and donate your time to advocate for them.
Let this small list get the ball rolling. I want to hear from you. What can we do to help you change the world?
Visit TransEquality.org to download the full report.