A Living Wage for Trans Workers

March 21, 2013

This week, discussions about raising the federal minimum wage came to the forefront again after Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) declared that the minimum wage would currently be $22 an hour if it had kept up with worker productivity. Senator Warren points out that our current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour does not reflect the cost of living increases or worker productivity increases that we have experienced over the past several decades.

A wage increase would have a significant effect on transgender people. Compared to the general population, transgender people are four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000 per year.  This extreme poverty is directly tied to the widespread discrimination against transgender people in employment and other sectors, which force an outsized share of transgender people into minimum-wage jobs.

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Trans Pilots Allowed to Fly: FAA Updates Medical Requirements

August 12, 2012

The FAA has released new medical certification procedures for trans pilots, eliminating unnecessary psychological testing that had previously been required. Going forward, medical certification for transgender pilots will require only submitting current clinical records together with an evaluation from a psychiatrist or psychologist, as well as a report on any surgery (if applicable). The new requirements are listed in a new section of the agency’s Aviation Medical Examiner Guide, which can be found here.

The FAA requires that all pilots receive medical and psychological clearance to fly, and these procedures can be quite demanding. However, in recent years many transgender pilots had been required to undergo an expensive, burdensome and unnecessary battery of psychological tests including personality, projective and intelligence tests and others. Many transgender pilots were grounded due to such requirements and some even lost their jobs. While the FAA is understandably wary of any potential safety risk, requiring all these tests just because a person is transgender simply didn’t make medical sense.

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Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Trans Discrimination: New Analysis from the National Trans Discrimination Survey

July 19, 2012

Today, NCTE, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) released new analysis on Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander (API) trans people, a supplement to the groundbreaking National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Even given the unconscionable levels of discrimination and violence against transgender people in the United States, Asian and Pacific Islander (API) trans people experience heightened levels of discrimination and had worse outcomes than the sample overall. API transgender people faced the combination of anti-transgender bias with structural and interpersonal racism.

“These findings underscore the importance of recognizing that API transgender people are a significant and too often marginalized part of both API and LGBT communities, and a community that faces substantial and sometimes unique challenges,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “And the broader racial justice analysis has too often excluded APIs. This research contributes to our long-held belief that policy makers must understand and act on the deep disparities that exist within people of color communities.”

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Victory: Federal Agency Rules Trans People Protected by Sex Discrimination Law

April 24, 2012

NCTE congratulates our colleagues at the Transgender Law Center, who tonight, announced a significant federal workplace rights victory. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled in a 5-0 decision that an employer who discriminates against a transgender employee or job applicant because of the person’s gender identity is illegal sex discrimination based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Though this ruling follows a growing number of court decisions around the country that have held that transgender people are protected by existing federal anti-discrimination laws, this is the first decision by the EEOC on this issue.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “This ruling is a major advancement in transgender rights that will provide a significant tool to fight discrimination. It will also help us advocate for still needed protections like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the federal contractors executive order.”

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NCTE’s Mara Keisling to be a Featured Guest on MHP Show Discussing Trans Issues

April 13, 2012

Melissa Harris-Perry Show
Sunday, April 15, 2012
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST

Join us for a Twitter conversation at @TransEquality
Hashtags: #nerdland #trans

From the first appearance at a trans event by a sitting Cabinet Secretary to the incredible list of policy victories we’ve achieved in the past year, trans policy is now firmly part of the political debate.  Of equal importance is that now, the conversation around the country is moving in our favor, symbolic of  important cultural progress in our movement.

Capitalizing on what seems to be a trans moment, Mara Keisling will join the Melissa-Harris Perry Show on a nationally televised panel discussing the movement for transgender equality. Mara will join other trans advocates to examine recent trans policy victories and current challenges.

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The Federal Trans Agenda in a Word Cloud

March 26, 2012

We were excited by the enthusiasm around the release of our paper, “A Blueprint for Equality: A Federal Agenda for Transgender Equality.” It’s not an easy document to get through; transgender equality at the federal level is large and complex. Check out the WordCloud of the Blueprint to see just how hyper-focused we are on trans issues across the government.

Tweet and Facebook this blog post to help your friends and allies understand what trans equality looks like. Click below for more reactions on the Blueprint from our twitter followers.

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99 Steps Toward Federal Transgender Equality

March 22, 2012

Download the Blueprint for EqualityIf you asked me what I would most like people to know about the National Center for Transgender Equality, I’d need to name a few things: we have a truly remarkable board and staff, we do exceptional work with almost no resources, and our federal agenda is really, really complex. I hope that the quality of our board, staff, and work shows.  However, I do sometimes think that the community doesn’t always see the breadth and complexity of the work we do.

In late 2007, when we knew that a new Presidential administration was imminent, we began a process to really dig into and understand all the federal policies that needed to be adjusted to be fairer for trans people. Most bad policies weren’t intentionally hurtful to us; they just ignored us or didn’t anticipate us.

Late in 2008, we released a list of policies we wanted changed and we set about changing them. Since then, we’ve had some very important successes like working with the State Department to update their passport gender marker rules and working with the Social Security Administration to get them to stop sending gender no-match letters that effectively out trans people to employers.  We’ve also had dozens of other successes, big and small.

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New Federal Agency Protects Consumers AND Its Trans Employees

February 3, 2012

Yesterday, the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published the equivalent of its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy, which lists gender identity as a protected characteristic. This puts the CFPB in good company as one of more than a dozen Obama Administration federal agencies explicitly listing gender identity as protected in federal employment. NCTE and allies continue to advocate for more agencies to join this trend.

Since January 1, 2010, gender identity has been listed as a protected category in the overall federal EEO policy at www.usajobs.gov. Transgender federal employees are fully protected government-wide by several laws and Presidential actions including President Obama’s June 2009 memorandum that affirms the applicability of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

While passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is necessary to ensure that transgender people in public and private workplaces are protected, NCTE has advocated that individual federal agencies take this step to show support for their trans employees and job applicants and to make clear that discrimination against these employees is considered sex discrimination.

According to www.consumerfinance.gov, “The central mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”

The CFPB posted employment policy states:

“A Federal agency may not discriminate against an employee or applicant with respect to the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, (including pregnancy and gender identity), age (40 and above), disability, genetic information, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, military service, or any other non-merit factor. Discrimination on these bases is prohibited by Federal statutes and Executive Orders.”