Today I am reviewing employment and there are a number of important issues that the 2015 Transgender Survey
full report covers. I think most of us in the trans community already know this, but our empirical knowledge is now backed up by data, their key findings are:
- The unemployment rate among respondents was 15%, three times higher than the U.S. unemployment rate at the time of the survey (5%).
- Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents were living in poverty, more than twice the rate in the U.S. adult population (14%).
- One in eight (12%) respondents reported an annual household income between $1 and $9,999, three times higher than the U.S. adult population in this income bracket (4%).
And if you look our employment status,
- Work full time for an employer 35%
- Work part time for an employer 15%
- Self-employed in own business, profession or trade, or operate a farm (not including underground economy) 15%
- Retired 14%
- Not employed due to disability 13%
- Student 11%
- Unemployed but looking for work 11%
- Unemployed and have stopped looking for work 5%
- Homemaker or full-time parent 3%
- Work for pay from sex work, selling drugs, or other work currently criminalized 2%
- Not listed above 4%
I think that this is quite telling especially the unemployed 15% compared to 5% in the general population.
Some of the other facts,
- One in eight (12%) respondents reported that they had a household income between $1 and $9,999 per year, three times the rate in the U.S. population (4%).
- Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents were living in poverty, more than twice the rate in the U.S. population (14%).
- More than half (53%) of respondents whose sole source of income was from the underground economy had a household income between $1 and $9,999 per year, more than four times the rate in the overall sample.
Even with protects here in Connecticut I know a number of trans people who can’t find jobs and unless come right out say that they are not hiring because you are trans it is very hard to prove discrimination. They can come up with a thousand other excuses as to why they didn’t hard you.
In Our Own Voices“The day I came out as transgender at work, I was let go. Since transitioning, employment has been difficult, with a 95% reduction in earnings.”
I know someone with a post-PhD and she worked for Fortune 50 companies, not Fortune 500, but 50 and she had a hard time finding a job once she transitioned.
In the chapter on employment and the workplace the numbers are not any better.
- Sixteen percent (16%) of respondents who have ever been employed reported losing at least one job because of their gender identity or expression.
- Thirty percent (30%) of respondents who had a job in the past year reported being fired, denied a promotion, or experiencing some other form of mistreatment in the workplace related to their gender identity or expression, such as being harassed or attacked.
- In the past year, 27% of those who held or applied for a job reported being fired, denied a promotion, or not hired for a job they applied for because of their gender identity or expression.
- Fifteen percent (15%) of respondents who had a job in the past year were verbally harassed, physically attacked, and/or sexually assaulted at work because of their gender identity or expression.
- Nearly one-quarter (23%) of those who had a job in the past year reported other forms of mistreatment based on their gender identity or expression during that year, such as being told by their employer to present as the wrong gender in order to keep their job or having employers or coworkers share private information about their transgender status with others without permission.
- More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents who had a job in the past year took steps to avoid mistreatment in the workplace, such as hiding or delaying their gender transition or quitting their job.
As a former supervisor, let me give you a tip.
When I had a troubled employee, say coming in late or the smell of alcohol on his breath, HR told me to keep a log on the employee so if we have to fire him we will have a record of his conduct. Well, that is a two way street.
Keep a log (a logbook with numbered pages is excellent) of the harassment, assaults, or anything else that happens to you because of being trans, also keep a copy of any written complaints or even if you just say to your boss or HR “They are at it again.” Write it down in the logbook (date, time, place, any witnesses, and what was said). I also like emails because they have all that information in them.
More than one-quarter (27%) of those who held or applied for a job in the past year reported not being hired, being denied a promotion, or being fired during that year because of their gender identity or expression.
Once again this is hard to prove in court unless the company is stupid.
In Our Own Voices:“Coworkers would gossip about me as news about my trans status spread through the workplace. I was treated significantly differently once people heard about me being trans. Coworkers felt they had the right to disrespect me because the owners set the tone. I became a spectacle in my own workplace.”
Boy did that happen to me. Before I transitioned, well actually on the day that I transitioned, word about me spread like wildfire through the company. Somehow one of my technicians found out I was trans and the day they laid me off (not about my transition but they were shutting down the plant) the hit counter on my blog went ballistic! I normally back then got 150 hits a day, the hit counter recorded over 500 hits that day and it was over the normal hits for the next couple of days, and when I looked to see where all the traffic was coming from I found all the hits were coming the domain name of the company where I used to work. Then the emails started coming in congratulating me. I think that my tech didn’t it discredit me but it backed fired.
We don’t take being fired lying down.
Response to being fired
Place complaint was filed
- They did nothing: 69%
- They contacted a lawyer: 15%
- They made an official complaint: 14%
- They contacted a transgender, LGBT, or other group: 10%
- They contacted their union representative: 2%
- Not listed above 7%
- Employer’s human resources or personnel department: 53%
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): 33%
- Employer’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office: 18%
- Local or state human rights commission: 17%
- Supervisor or manager 9%
- Not listed above 26%
One thing that I don’t like is that if you make a complaint with the state human rights commission it because a searchable public record. One friend if you Google their name the discrimination lawsuit shows up.
The next chapter is about how we survive.
Today I am up in Vermont for my cousin’s birthday with the family.