New video on national transgender survey

In The Life Media, the producers of the fantastic PBS show In the Life, have teamed up with the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality to produce a video about their groundbreaking study Injustice at Every Turn. The study is a crucial first step towards quantifying the marginalization experienced by trans and gender non-conforming folks in the US, especially the extreme burden experienced by trans women of color. And the video does a great job of humanizing this issue. You should watch it. Seriously.

Update: The Feministing community is amazing! Thank you so much to Brandon Faunce for typing up a transcript for this video, which can be found after the jump.

What I like about this video is that is speaks to the strength of trans and gender non-conforming folks. We are the brave ones, the ones who take the steps to live outside the impossibly small and wrong gender boxes our culture tries to force us into. The ones who refuse to curl up and die even when the gender defenders are out there killing us. We’re fucking beautiful, and it can be easy to lose site of this fact when focused on oppression. Yes, we experience extreme amounts of hate, but the video does a good job of highlighting the resilience of those who stand up when gender’s trying to keep us down.

Injustice at Every Turn

Ja’briel:
Everything is kind of taboo in the South and, instead of trying to understand, people tend to just go off hearsay and tend to construct things in their mind. An image of what they think a transgender person is. You figure out ways to kind of skirt around the discrimination, but eventually it finds you.

Narrator:
Everyday transgender and gender non-conforming people are marginalized because of their gender identity and expression. The struggle for fairness has too often been held up by the lack of hard data on the discrimination they face.

The National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force formed a partnership to complete the first comprehensive transgender discrimination study.

Jaime M. Grant:
This study was about really creating entirely new information about the community; creating a portrait that didn’t yet exist about the scope of discrimination in transgender peoples’ lives, and the devastation that it causes.

Ja’briel:
You figure out ways to kind of work around people. I think it’s something that subconsciously happens over years. You don’t even realize you’re doing it, but you find ways to… Okay, I might be at the local Wal-Mart and I know this group is here in this aisle, so I’m going to walk around this aisle. Or I’m going to go to the store; instead of 2pm in the day, I’ll go at 2am in the morning when no one is there. I’m also African American, so that’s another layer of discrimination that I have to deal with.

Jaime M. Grant:
One of the meta-findings of this study is that the combination of anti-transgender bias and racism is especially deadly. When we look at things like harassment in the workplace, 50% of the full sample is experiencing harassment, but transgender people of color are experiencing harassment rates of 55-65%.

Michelle:
I consider myself a Native American transgender. In the cultural term in our language I would be called a “nádleehé ”, which doesn’t describe a sexual orientation or gender identity. Actually it describes a role I play in the community.

I was a waitress and had been working there for approximately 8 months. I had been doing a good job up until that point; I was bringing in a lot of repeat customers. Somebody actually told the restaurant manager that I was transgender. I went to go talk to him; while we were inside the office he reached out and he touched my breast. At that point I didn’t think there was anything I could do, and I didn’t.

Ja’briel:
I went to school and earned a degree, but because of discrimination I’m limited in my employment options. And so it’s been very troubling to know that this is an extra burden on me, financially and in other ways.

Jaime M. Grant:
There’s incredible determination to stay in school, get your degree, but there’s no job for you when you get out. Our sample was experiencing almost four times the rate of extreme poverty as the general population in the US.

Ja’briel:
I had to stick with the same job that I had right out of high school, even though I attended college and earned my degree, and can do other things. You have to sit before a prospective employer and state to him or her, “You know, yeah I’m a perfect candidate but I’m also transgender”.

Jaime M. Grant:
All these transgender and gender non-conforming people are surviving enormous assaults on every front. The safety nets that are available for your average person are simply not there.

Ja’briel:
I took the approach of laying low. I thought that if I just fly below the radar, I’ll just coast through life, perhaps, and not have to deal with a lot of this stuff. But the older I got, the harder that became. It was too much of a war on the inside, and I had to be free.

Jaime M. Grant:
We see again the hits over and over again in terms of the way our society is structured and there being really no repercussions for anti-transgender bias. And yet our people get back up again.

Michelle:
Now I am very grateful that I can say “you know what? Yes, I have been discriminated against in this area, this area and this area. But I am also very resilient as a transgender woman. That I can still move on with my life and do things that are going to change those things.”

Ja’briel:
Fear comes from a place of ignorance. That same thing that causes you the most problems in your life will also be the same thing that propels you into greatness. It’s hard to explain it to someone who isn’t experiencing it, but it’s a beautiful thing.

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