While the gay equality movement in the US has made recent strides, from the abolition of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to the increasing number of states where gay marriage is legal, too many transgender men and women still live in the shadows.
National Public Radio aired a piece (15 June) on the lives of transgender Americans, specifically teenagers and young adults.
The report pointed to a 2011 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation report that found ‘transgender individuals [face discrimination] everywhere, from employment to housing, as well as hate crimes.’ The report added transgender men and women who lose a job due to bias are four times as likely to be homeless.
The NGLTF is gay civil rights organization.
London Griego is one of the people profiled in the report. She’s lived in the Covenant House shelter in Hollywood, California for approximately a year (she’s aged out of the state’s foster care system). Although she has applied for multiple positions, she’s been told she’s unqualified. The 19-year-old thinks the real reason is her gender identification.
‘Because that’s how the person who is interviewing me, who is going to hire me is thinking: "I don’t want somebody who is going to scare my customers away,"’ Griego said to NPR.
Jake Finney, the anti-violence project manager at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, adds that close to half of the shelter’s residents are transgender. Many were kicked out of their homes due to family rejection.
‘When I was adopted, the parents were completely unaccepting,’ 18-year-old Titus Slee described his foster family. ‘And that would go along with the abuse that I faced. They would call me names, and it was just really, really bad.’