Grade 10 Student
Transphobia is the fear, hatred or distrust of people who are transgender. It’s like a form of racism or sexism. It is a gender based discrimination. Many people have transphobia because they were raised a certain way of thinking or because of personal experiences. Transphobia is caused when a person has a negative or cruel feeling towards a transgender individuals. Transphobia is a very dangerous way of thinking because it causes anger, violence and pain.
Transgenders face discrimination at schools, workplaces and even in families. Studies have shown that transgenders face workplace discrimination and harassment at higher rates than gays and lesbians. According to Americanprogress.org, “90% of transgender individuals have encountered some form of harassment or mistreatment on the job… this includes 44% who were passed over for a job, 23% who were denied a promotion and 26% who were fired because they were transgender.”
There are many cases where transgenders were fired due to their gender, one being the Vandy Beth Glenn case. Vandy explains her story:
“My boss told me I would make other people uncomfortable, just by being myself. He told me that my transition was unacceptable. And over and over, he told me it was inappropriate. Then he fired me. I was escorted back to my desk, told to clean it out, then marched out of the building…I was devastated.”
There has been many cases where transgenders get fired from their jobs simply because of their gender. According to research, there has also been countless cases where a transgender person was denied urgent medical care because the medic was transphobic, leaving the person to suffer and die. Today, 10 states in the US prohibit insurance exclusions for transgender health care. Many social services and housing services discriminate against transgenders due to the fact that they do not comply to traditional gender behavioral roles. According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, almost a fifth of transgender people have been refused care because of their gender identity.
Many transgender kids are being teased and bullied at school. According to nobullying.com, 82% of transgender students feel unsafe at school. 44% of them have been abused physically. 67% of them were bullied online and 64% of them had their property stolen or destroyed. More than half of transgender students skip school on a regular basis to avoid bullies. Compared to gays and lesbians, only 34% are bullied in school, 28% of them were cyber bullied and 13% of them did not
attend school. From this data you can see that transgender youth suffer higher levels of bullying and violence than lesbians and gays.
You could say that non-transgenders are the only ones at fault for the problems occurring today with transgender youth. However that is not the case. In a recent study, it showed that most of the suicide attempts were due to the dissatisfaction with the individual’s appearance and the desire to look different from their assigned gender. These are all signs of dysphoria which is another problem occurring with transgenders. With gender dysphoria, the dissatisfaction of your male or female body can be so intense that it can interfere with the way you function in normal life at school, work or during social activities.
According to the High Risk Project, 20% of the known transgenders communities are involved in high-risk activities such as sex trade and drug abuse mostly because of negative social pressure. As a result to this, many transgenders face social isolation which is what causes that absence in many public places. Sandra Laframboise, an activist for transgender rights was involved in the high risk activities mentioned above and her story. Sandra spoke out to her parents at the age of 12. Three years later, she was excluded from social groups, institutionalized, she was thrown out of her parents’ home, and expelled from school. At the time, she had no support or counseling available. However, she befriended people who were also trans and queer who were involved in street-level sex work. At the time, this was one of the few paths for trans women to make a living.
A turning point in Sandra’s life was in 1974 in Parliament Hill. She marched for gay rights and freedom from police harassment. Although this wasn’t meant for transgenders, this motivated her to want a better life. She then later finished high school and in 1987, she moved to Vancouver where she recovered from drug use and completed a psych-nursing diploma.
Most businesses in Vancouver did not want to provide services to trans women. As a result, Sandra became very active and did outreach to trans women, especially those involved in sex work and drug use. In 1994, she helped established the first drop-in center for transgender women out of Vancouver Native Health as part of The High Risk Project. This program provided services to HIV+ transgender women involved in street level sex work. Her work was later noticed by many people, including the government and they listened to the experiences of trans women.
The National Center for Transgender Equality is working to push for trans rights and equality and many schools are now putting anti bullying policies specifically for transgender youth. States now in the US prohibit a person to violate a transgender physically and transgenders are now allowed to attend bathrooms that they please according to their gender; if a higher authority such as a teacher or principal were to refuse that student to attend the bathroom they please because of the thought that it does not correspond to their gender, the higher authority could get expelled and fired from the job. Studies after studies have shown that bullying is a serious problem all over the world and the victims are frequently the transgender community. Transgender individuals are at risk and like Sandra Laframboise and other trans activists that are trying to make a change, we as a community need to work together to create a safe environment so that all transgenders can feel safe and achieve their potential in life.
Blog posts here have been written by students in MS or HS on topics that interest them and with a purpose to educate their peers.