WASHINGTON (WUSA)— The National LGBTQ Task Force and the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights released a resource guide this week to help fight workplace discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people.
The guide was released in the middle of LGBT week.
“It is one of many issues that we concentrate on this week and it is an ongoing issue in general,” said Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, Trans/Gender Nonconforming Justice Project Director.
Rodriguez-Roland said transgender people face tremendous levels of discrimination, harassment, and difficulty finding work in the first place.
According to a DC Office of Human Rights report, when hiring, 48 percent of employers surveyed seemed to prefer less-qualified candidates that were perceived as cisgender over more-qualified candidates that were perceived as transgender.
Cisgender describes the experiences of people who's gender identity agrees with their sex assigned at birth.
A 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey stated that, 90 percent of transgender people in the U.S. report experiencing workplace harassment and discrimination.
The resource guide released by the National LGBT Task Force to help fight this discrimination. “We want to help employers get to a point where they have safe, affirming, and inclusive workplace environments that help transgender people feel included,” said Rodriguez Roldan.
The guide includes in-depth recommendations from human resource specialists to help create more inclusive work environments for transgendered people.
“It is relevant because as we talk about a transgender tipping point, transgender people are still victims of systemic oppression,” said Rodriguez-Roldan.
Fifteen percent of transgender people in the U.S. make less than $10,000 per year, which is four times the national average poverty rate of the general population. These transgender employees face wage disparities that make it harder for them to provide for themselves and their families, the Human Rights Center reports.
Rodriguez-Roldan explained that extreme poverty pushes many transgender people into criminalize occupations, like sex work and drug trafficking. Once they have a criminal record, it is much harder to find employment.
“Having access to dignified work and a job is a part of the American Dream and transgender people are being denied access to that,” said Rodriguez-Roldan. “The essential lesson is the work is not over yet. We have a long road ahead of us,” she said.