According to a recent Pew poll, nearly 90% of Americans say they personally know someone who is lesbian, gay, or bisexual. However, multiple polls show that approximately 20% of Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender. Given this reality, most Americans learn about transgender people through the media. So when the media talks about transgender issues – it is imperative that they get it right.
Each year between November 13 – 19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help increase understanding about transgender people and the issues members of the community face.
What is Transgender Awareness Week?
Transgender Awareness Week is a week when transgender people and their allies take action to bring attention to the trans community by educating the public about who transgender people are, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.
What can I do to become a better ally?
Learn about trans people by educating yourself with credible resources about community, language, issues, stories, and actions.
Transgender Terms for reference; Glossary of Terms
Tips for Allies of Transgender People; Tips
Social issues facing transgender people
Transgender people face high levels of violence, discrimination, and poverty. According to the U.S. Trans Survey, the largest national survey of transgender people to date, the trans community experiences unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, with rates for trans people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate. Transgender people are also four times more likely to live in poverty. Ninety percent of trans people report experiencing harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination on the job. The American Medical Association has stated that transgender people face an “epidemic of violence.” Transgender people face barriers in accessing healthcare, including anti-trans bias and laws allowing providers to deny care to trans patients. All of these realities result in transgender people, especially trans women and trans people of color, experiencing extremely high levels of minority stress that results in poor mental and physical health. According to the U.S. Trans Survey, 40% of transgender respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to 4.6% of the population as a whole. You can find more statistics from the U.S. Trans Survey here. A new U.S. Trans Survey is being launched in February 2022 and the results are expected by the end of 2022.
Transgender people face growing backlash.
The growing visibility of transgender people and more authentic media portrayals have led to a greater awareness of what it means to be a transgender person. This has led to significant policy changes which have brought greater equality for people who are trans, including the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock. That landmark decision — in a case brought by, among others, transgender plaintiff Aimee Stephens — found that Title VII’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. However, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision extending full marriage equality to same-sex couples in 2015, anti-LGBTQ activists began to aggressively shift toward targeting transgender people, and especially transgender youth, as a wedge issue to advance their agenda. In February, 2021, the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation, in coalition with other anti-trans activist groups, released their so-called “Promise to America’s Children.” This document is the blueprint for anti-trans bills introduced in legislatures across the country. In 2021, more than 140 bills were proposed in over 30 state legislatures targeting transgender youth and their access to healthcare and education. This concerted political tactic, combined with increasing anti-trans activism from some white cisgender women in the U.K., (given a significant platform by British author J.K. Rowling), is creating an even more hostile and toxic culture in the U.S. and worldwide for people who are transgender. This makes fair and accurate reporting even more important. Source