Ever present and always relevant, transgender issues deserve a lot of traction and there is this excelling push for reformation. Nonetheless, passionate hearts, old and young continue to fight for their own. Whether you are an ally or personally affected, the drive for change still remains.
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I, myself, a member of the LGBTQIA also referred as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual community, proud representative of the “B” and as a woman of color I am fully aware that each sector holds its own truth and their experiences are indubitably un-transferrable. More than ever, there is no denying every individual’s perception of others which eventually created a blatant divide. Different feelings and moments transpire between a white transgender’s experience and a person of colors’ painful journey that make their painful excursions unique.
A deeply rooted discomfort that has been internalized. To continue, seldom does necessary amounts of attention go into pointing out the shocking hardships of black transgender people. Black issues are always current however this becomes incomplete without discussing black trans problems. Black trans people are largely misrepresented and undervalued. In this current event, I have studied and taken information from a 2015 U.S Transgender Survey that decided to expand on the issues black trans people face and record the stories of seven hundred odd people that volunteered to be apart this examination. Furthermore, participants were asked to discuss their home lives, their occupation(s), their experience, public accommodations, harassment and violence, health, and amongst many others. Correspondingly, findings that were pivotal to this study have been deemed alarming. This all considering the immense abundance of help and outlets provided to transgender people.
Also coupled with noticing a certain level of uncomfortableness between black transgender people and public sectors such as law enforcement and the medical industry. We see the numbers and notice that the dissimilarities are continuing to grow. These points can be seen throughout multiple sections of life and more analysis share this them of concern. Research conducted by James, Brown and Wilson discovered that 20% of Black respondents were unemployed while keeping in mind that black people only take up 10% of the United States population (3). Thus, concluding that the amount of unemployment amongst black transgender people is double the amount of black people in the United States (James and Wilson 3). Comparatively, to the 12% of white transgender people that are also unemployed. Also, 38% of them are without shelter and proper living arrangements juxtaposed to the overall national number of 29% (James and Wilson 8). For this reason, it is important that James and others report these findings to expose a national problem amongst disadvantaged individuals. The dissimilarities are prevalent and there needs to be group effort of energy to get down to the bottom of why black transgender people are suffering so much.
In the same fashion, numbers continue to point out discrepancies and it is well known how unemployment is so rampant; James, Brown and Wilson include more findings that were included in “Sources of Income.” They found that “37% of Black respondents were either self-sufficient or looked to their partners to help make ends meet (8); amongst this effort of survival includes brave and sometimes brash job of sex work. Many black trans people have admitted to practicing sex work and only doing so to survive. In an all-inclusive conclusion, it explains how there is a six percent difference in the occurrence of sex work between black and white workers with black transgender workers in the lead at 11% while their counterparts came in at 5% (James and Wilson 10). Thereupon, conclusive results show that as much as 27%, have used examples of money, food, a place to sleep as a premise for their actions adjacent to the other 19% whose reasonings were clearly stated since the focus on this analysis is on the black transgender community. Straightaway, we notice a paradigm, an occurring pattern of danger, lack of resources and uncertainty for black trans people. Other statistics include, lack of representation in health care, levels of stress and the amount of black trans people living with HIV. This information includes, thirty-four percent having bad experiences and not being comfortable with their providers (James and Wilson 3).
The psychological and emotional trauma that black transgender people may be experiencing, because of the cards they have been dealt with was also taken into consideration. Like the other findings, the numbers were high, and questions are continuing to be posed. Forty-one percent experienced psychological stress, superseding the national percentage of five percent, according to James and Wilson (19). The discussion of health in the black community continues with the discussion of HIV testing and the amount of those who made contact with the virus. In like manner, 6.7% of Black trans are living with HIV compared to the 0.3% United States Population (James and Wilson 3), but why? We see more and more black people being affected by HIV and according to the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Black men are in the lead at 12,890 of the total African American population. The National also gave insight into how the number has been down by 8% in recent years nonetheless they are still dangerous.
Presently, the most compelling evidence is in recent news was the death of a Honduras Trans gender women of color. Her name was Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, she was thirty-three years old and crossed the border seeking refuge in the United States until being captured by ICE in early May. New York Times writer Sandra E. Garcia explained in her article Rodriguez was denied basic human needs like water and was denied medical attention, until the guards finally noticed she was fairly ill. This went on for about sixteen days until she died from dehydration, complications from HIV and now deep hemorrhaging in her tissues from signs of abuse (Garcia). As has been noted, the constant disregard for black people has been ever present and always hard to bare, in light of, black transgender lives continuing to be disregarded, undermined and misrepresented. Numbers, statistics, retaining all the information presented are only the beginning steps of what needs to be done to reform the lives and experiences of black transgender people. The experiences of transgender people need to be included in the curriculums. There needs to be a space made for transgender people, especially its youth.
Students with the idea of wishing they can transition and be the boy and girl they always wanted to be, need to know this information. Black transgender people, old and young should not have to resort to sex work as their only option of income, nor rely on their partners. Rather, it should be a choice. Many cannot begin to know the experiences of black transgender people, but they cannot know if they are not around the information or have been taught to disregard it. We need to see black trans people in a brighter light, in lesson plays, classrooms, classroom activities, receiving proper health care and basic needs like water and food, but most of all, loved. I will continue to fight for trans issues be the change that I wish to seek.
Garcia, Sandra E. “Independent Autopsy of Transgender Asylum Seeker Who Died in ICE Custody Shows Signs of Abuse.” 27 November 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/27/us/trans-woman-roxsana-hernandez-ice-autopsy.html
James, S. E., Brown, C., & Wilson, I. (2017). 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey: Report on the Experiences of Black Respondents. Washington, DC and Dallas, TX: National. Center for Transgender Equality, Black Trans Advocacy, & National Black Justice Coalition
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