The Inseparable Link Between Discrimination, Economic Injustice, and Anti-Transgender ViolenceIf you are trans and you are a member of another minority the effects discrimination are not just double, but are multiplied. If you are a black female trans-woman, the deck is stacked against you.
By Peggy Shorey
In the labor movement, we organize by the spirit of the motto, "An injury to one is an injury to all." In the LGBT community, we must find that sense of shared struggle with a movement that truly includes all of us. Our people are getting killed. Every one of us has a moral obligation to stand up and talk about it, to find a way to take action, to do more. Those of us who are the "LGB" of our community must stand in real solidarity with our transgender sisters and brothers. Allies, you are just as vital.
There is an inseparable link between violence, discrimination, and economic injustice. Working people across all sectors are facing extraordinary levels of unemployment and underemployment. Youth, immigrants, women, people of color, and LGBT people face disproportionate hardship. Black transgender individuals are estimated to have four times the unemployment rate of the general population.
We should not be hopeless, but we should be angry. There are actions that we can take:What can you do? You can demand that your local schools here in Connecticut obey Public Act No. 11-232 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE STRENGTHENING OF SCHOOL BULLYING LAWS and on a national level can tell your congressional legislators to support the gender inclusive and and only a gender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act(ENDA) and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
Speaking out against violence: We cannot let hate crimes against our community pass by in silence. In the words of the ACT-UP community, silence equals death. As an LGBT community, we must speak the women's names aloud, remember them, take the pain of their murders, and use it as our fuel to go out and make it better.
Educating within the LGBT community: In addition to the work of educating our allies, we must continue to educate within the LGBT community about issues of both gender identity/expression and racial justice. We must do the work to learn what we don't know, and share what we do. We must have frank conversations and create meaningful action plans to make our work more whole.
Withdrawing our dollars from corporations that don't genuinely support LGBT workers: There's a difference between saying the LGBT community supports people of color and transgender folks within our movement, and actually standing in support of their struggles. While the regular working people and jobless folks in the LGBT community may not have all that mythical gay community disposable income, we absolutely do have strength in numbers, and we should recognize and use our power
Fighting for good jobs and economic security: While we continue the fight for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, we must take action for economic relief that will have a meaningful, immediate impact in workers' lives. LGBT groups must prioritize fighting for those in deepest struggle within our community. All of us in the LGBT community should be standing up for good jobs that let our community survive and thrive, living as our whole selves and supporting our families with dignity.