NCTE Trains Job Centers Throughout the U.S. on Serving Transgender Job Seekers

May 19, 2014

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) recently trained staff from Job Centers on how to make their services transgender friendly and transgender competent.

What is a Job Center? State and local governments, with U.S. Department of Labor funding, run these Job Centers all over the United States where people can get help with finding and applying for jobs and getting job training, which is often free.  Known sometimes as One-Stop Centers or Career Centers, they are all designed to help people get work. There are nearly 3000 centers throughout the U.S.; you can find one in your area here.

Photo Credit: Tim Hawk/South Jersey Times

Photo Credit: Tim Hawk/South Jersey Times

NCTE was invited by the Department of Labor to give a presentation to officials from Job Centers on how to appropriately, respectfully and competently serve transgender job-seekers. Our curriculum included basic transgender terminology and cultural competency, and information about how transgender people are often locked out of the traditional workforce due to discrimination. We covered why trans people may have gaps in employment or education, why many have criminal records from survival work they have done on the streets, and how to work around these issues when trying to assist a transgender job-seeker to get employed.

Though there is much to be done, this training was a great first step with the Job Center system. NCTE has been pushing for Department of Labor to create a clear policy that all Job Centers and their affiliated training programs must not discriminate on the basis of gender identity.

Anyone who encounters discrimination in a job center should file a complaint. For more information on how to file a complaint, download NCTE’s resource on Employment Discrimination and Transgender People.


NCTE Welcomes Review of Outdated Military Regulations Barring Transgender Service

May 11, 2014

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) welcomes U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s statement on ABC’s This Morning that the Department of Defense should review the military’s policies that prohibits open transgender military service. “We look forward to working with the Pentagon to end these outdated rules that harm our military,” said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling.

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC News that he believes the ban should be reviewed. “I do think it continually should be reviewed,” he said. “I’m open to that. I’m open to those assessments, because — again, I go back to the bottom line — every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it,” he said.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “This willingness to evaluating changes to the medical regulations is overdue but very welcome. If the Secretary were able to meet and talk with the trans service members I’ve met, he’d understand the answer is self-evident. These are amazing people who serve even though they must hide a basic part of who they are.

Our National Transgender Discrimination Survey, conducted by NCTE and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, showed that about one-fifth of all transgender adults are veterans, making transgender people approximately twice as likely as others to serve in the military.

Read our full statement here.


New Report: Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People with HIV

May 8, 2014

National Center for Transgender Equality Director of Policy, Harper Jean Tobin, participated yesterday in a panel discussion to mark the release of “A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People with HIV.” This is a groundbreaking report examining the full scope of factors that contribute to disproportionate incarceration of LGBT and HIV-affected people and their abuse behind bars.

With growing bipartisan interest in addressing mass incarceration—for example, the proposed federal Smarter Sentencing Act has the backing of leading liberal lions and key conservative stalwarts alike, and a range of bipartisan reforms are being debated in many states—we hope this report together with NCTE’s recent guide “Standing with LGBT Prisoners: An Advocate’s Guide to Ending Abuse and Combating Imprisonment” will help the LGBT movement play a big role in making big changes.

CrimJustSystem-graphic

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Step Forward: PGPD Abandons Live Tweeting Prostitution Sting

May 7, 2014

Yesterday evening, the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) in Maryland released a statement after conducting a prostitution sting operation. The PGPD relented to community advocacy and chose not to live tweet during the raid. An announcement last week promised to live tweet photos of those arrested, but in the end there were no live tweets and no arrests.

The PGPD faced criticism from organizations like the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), HIPS and other sex worker rights groups after announcing they would tweet pictures of clients of sex workers at a planned sting operation. That sting operation took place on May 6th with no arrests.

“We’re glad PGPD abandoned the unwise plan of live tweeting after community concern,” said NCTE Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin,  “However, police should focus on protecting sex workers from those who assault or rob them instead of engaging in broad stings and public shaming. We hope PGPD will collaborate with community members, including advocates for sex workers themselves, on more constructive solutions to violence against sex workers.”

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Senate Blocks Raising the Minimum Wage for LGBT Americans

April 30, 2014

Today, the U.S. Senate blocked a key vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act (S. 460), a bill that would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour by 2015. Provisions in the bill would have also tied minimum wage increases to cost of living increases, and eventually, raised the wage for tipped workers, which has remained frozen for the last 20 years.

National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “The Senate’s failure to move the minimum wage bill forward is a disappointing blow to transgender and LGBT Americans who are more likely than most to scrape by on poverty-level wages. Transgender people are four times more likely to be living in extreme poverty on less than $10,000 per year.”

Raise the Minimum Wage

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LGBTQ Organizations Release Intimate Partner Violence Community Action Toolkits

April 29, 2014

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) in association with GLAAD, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the Gay and Lesbian Taskforce and Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) announce the release of two community action toolkits that provide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities, survivors of intimate partner violence, and advocates working on their behalf, resources to address intimate partner violence on the individual and community level. The toolkits are focused specifically on intimate partner violence in transgender and people of color communities and highlight the adverse impact of intimate partner violence on transgender individuals and LGBTQ people of color.

NCAVP’s annual report Intimate Partner Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV Affected Communities in 2012, released on October 1st, 2013, documents the disproportional impact of intimate partner violence on transgender people and people of color.  In 2012 a majority (52.4%) of the victims of intimate partner violence homicides were people of color and people of color were more likely to suffer injuries, require medical attention, experience harassment, or face anti-LGBTQ bias as a result of intimate partner violence. In addition, transgender survivors were more likely to face threats and intimidation, harassment, and police violence as a result of intimate partner violence. Additionally, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lesbians, gay men and bisexual people experience intimate partner violence at the same or higher rates as non-LGB people.

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Expanded Federal Clemency Rules: Another Step Toward Ending Mass Incarceration

April 24, 2014

NCTE applauds the Justice Department’s announcement that it will broaden the criteria for clemency for federal prisoners. The Obama Administration’s action means that up to 2,000 people convicted of nonviolent offenses have a shot at shortening draconian sentences. 

This is another important step reflecting the growing bipartisan consensus that we lock up far too many people today for far too long, at tremendous human and fiscal cost,” said NCTE Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin. 

NCTE was proud to recently publish “Standing with LGBT Prisoners: An Advocate’s Guide to Ending Abuse and Combating Imprisonment,” which focuses primarily on changing the conditions for LGBT and especially trans people inside prisons and jails. But we know that there is no such thing as a truly safe and decent prison for trans people, and far too many of our community are incarcerated.

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NCTE Applauds Federal Protections for Transgender Survivors of Violence

April 11, 2014

Department of Justice Clarifies Police, Courts, Shelters, and Others Must Respect Gender Identity

This week the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) release long-awaited guidance on the 2013 law prohibiting discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity by entities funded under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA’s nondiscrimination protections provide broad protections, not only for LGBT survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, but for anyone else facing discrimination from law enforcement agencies, courts, or community groups that accept VAWA funding for any part of their operations. The guidelines clarify that refusing to accept a person’s self-identified gender when delivering services constitutes unlawful discrimination, and that in many cases segregating by gender in the first place is prohibited.

The guidance, from DOJ’s Office on Violence against Women, answers “Frequently Asked Questions” about the nondiscrimination law included in the 2013 reauthorization of VAWA, which for the first time explicitly prohibited discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in any program or activity funded in whole or in part by VAWA. Critically, the guidance clarifies that all VAWA-funded services must be open to all persons regardless of gender. Sex-segregated programs are permitted only when an agency can prove the services can’t be provided any other way—in which case, fully equivalent services must be provided to people of all genders.

 

Photo: Chuck Kennedy

Photo: Chuck Kennedy

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