Group hopes to improve black transgender unemployment rate

While many people will be celebrating Capital Pride this weekend... black transgender women in DC are facing a harsh reality - unemployment.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - While many people will be celebrating Capital Pride this weekend, black transgender women in D.C. are facing a harsh reality: unemployment.

It can often lead to homelessness or an illegal lifestyle for some trans people, but one organization is doing all they can to help change that.

“I was confused. I was hurt and definitely I was in pain,” Nona Conner recalled.

Conner remembered getting stabbed four years ago when she refused to have sex with a man she barely knew.

RELATED: Transgender McLean student and father seek to educate others

“The doctor said he stopped counting my stab wounds at 48,” she said. “I asked God to help me and he did.”

“The way to address violence was to bring them out of the margins. They face high rates of joblessness, high rates of homelessness,” Jessica Raven, with Collective Action for Safe Spaces, said. “We have to overcome those barriers if we're going to address violence against trans people of color in D.C.”

Collective Action for Safe Spaces found that more than 50% of black trans people didn’t have jobs, and employers were more likely to hire an unqualified person who is the same gender as they were born than a trans person who is qualified.

“The restaurant industry had the highest number of discriminatory responses,” Raven explained.

CASS created the ‘Safe Bar Collective’.

The group works with restaurants trained to make businesses safer for everyone and potential trans employees.

The goal is to create a long term solution by helping trans employees with transportation and other tools they need to be successful.

“It's hard. It is sad, but it’s a reality,” Chantal Coudoux, with Restaurant Opportunity Center of Washington DC, said. “With trans folks leading the fight that it is something we'll be able to address.” 

CLICK HERE to donate to Collective Action for Safe Spaces. 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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