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NCTE Welcomes Barneys New York Spring Campaign by Bruce Weber

NCTE Celebrates Court Ruling Affirming Constitutional Right to Healthcare for Transgender Prisoners

NCTE Celebrates Historic Senate Passage of LGBT Job Discrimination Bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Employment Non-Discrimination Act Secures Pivotal Procedrual Vote to Advance in U.S. Senate

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act Will Receive Full Senate Vote by Thanksgiving

NCTE Welcomes Forthcoming Senate Vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Transgender Rights Group Joins National Call for House Action on Immigration Reform

LGBT Advocacy Organizations Call on House to Pass Immigration Reform Bill

NCTE Welcomes New ICE Commitment to Limit Solitary Confinement in Immigration Detention

Transgender Workers at Greater Risk for Unemployment and Poverty

Trans People Unequivocally Have a Right to Health Care Access in Prison

NCTE Celebrates Historic Senate Committee Action to End Trans Job Discrimination

PRESS CALL: Former Navy Seal Kristin Beck Speaks Out for Trans Workplace Rights

Nation's Leading LGBT Advocacy Organizations Respond to Senate Bill, See Opportunities for Immigrants and Demand No More Punitive Measures

Our Moment for Reform: Transgender People and Immigration

NCTE Joins LGBT Advocacy Organizations in Calling on the House to Pass Immigration Reform

Health Care Insurance Marketplaces Open Today, Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Social Security Administration Modernizes Gender Change Policy for Trans People

NCTE Applauds Reappointment of Commissioner Chai Feldblum

Nation's Leading LGBT Advocacy Organizations Respond to Senate Judiciary Committee Failure to Consider UAFA

NCTE Welcomes Lisa Mottet as Deputy Executive Director

Over 30 Transgender Advocacy Groups Join National Call for Immigration Reform

NCTE Responds to Withdrawal of Medicare Public Comment Process

NCTE Celebrates Passage of a Strong LGBT-Inclusive Violence Against Women Act

NCTE Calls on Secretary Napolitano to Strengthen Standards to End Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention

NCTE Applauds Senate Passage of Violence Against Women Act

NCTE Outlines Ambitious Policy Goals for the New Year, 13 Goals for 2013

 

 

News 2013

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NCTE Welcomes Barneys New York Spring Campaign by Bruce Weber

"Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters" feat. 17 diverse transgender models.

Washington, DC - Barneys New York has become the first major retailer to launch a campaign exclusively featuring the lives and stories of diverse transgender models and their family members. "Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters" was shot by renowned American fashion photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber whose photographs have also appeared in GQ, Vogue, and Rolling Stone. Each model was interviewed by journalist, and contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Patricia Bosworth.

Keisling added, "'Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters' is a powerful reminder of how far we have come culturally as transgender people, and it will help push us further."

The Spring 2014 campaign created a safe space for models from diverse walks of life--from African American Ball culture in NYC to life in Tulsa, Oklahoma--to share their empowering struggles and inspiring victories. These stories highlight the enduring connections and support of family, friends, and community members that showcase the deep roots of transgender people in American culture and society.

"Over a year in the making, 'Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters' represents an important point for the social acceptance of transgender people; a point we're coming ever closer to tipping. And this campaign, by a major cultural institution like Barneys New York, will do a lot to educate Americans about who we are, making even political progress in Washington just a little bit easier," Keisling said.

As part of NCTE's ongoing work to educate workplaces about their obligations to address anti-transgender discrimination, the National Center for Transgender Equality provided cultural competency training to Barneys New York corporate staff in headquarters and with floor associates in retail locations across the country. NCTE, along with the LGBT Center of New York, will receive half of 10% of all sales from Barneys' 11 flagship stores nationwide and Barneys.com on February 11th.

On February 11, just after the launch of the campaign, Barneys New York and Vanity Fair will hold a screening of a Bruce Weber film based on the campaign and the seventeen transgender models, followed by a discussion with Bruce Weber, Dennis Freedman, Mara Keisling and several of the models. Following these events, the Bruce Weber film will be shown exclusively on the Barneys New York site, The Window and in the Madison Avenue store's windows through March 16th.

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Celebrates Court Ruling Affirming Constitutional Right to Healthcare for Transgender Prisoners

Washington, DC - The National Center for Transgender Equality celebrates today's First Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections must provide sex reassignment surgery to Michelle Kosilek, an incarcerated transgender person, as one treatment to mitigate her gender dysphoria.

The favorable opinion affirms previous court rulings that transition-related care is medically necessary and therefore constitutionally required care for transgender people in prison.

"Today's decision affirms the increasing consensus among the courts that transgender-related healthcare is just healthcare and that people behind bars, including transgender people, have a constitutional right to healthcare," said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. She added, "Decisions about treating serious healthcare decisions like sex reassignment surgery need to be made by doctors and patients, not prison authorities."

Despite the recommendation of several doctors, Michelle Kosilek was denied treatment, which a 2012 court ruling determined violated Kosilek's 8th amendment right to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.

"Prisoner or not, people should have access to the healthcare they need. For some of us, that means sex reassignment surgery. While we celebrate today's ruling, we know there's more advocacy needed to ensure that all transgender people have access to basic and necessary healthcare."

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Celebrates Historic Senate Passage of LGBT Job Discrimination Bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Washington, DC - The National Center for Transgender Equality celebrates the historic Senate passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that would ban workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. In a 64 to 32 vote, ENDA moves forward to the House for consideration.

"ENDA's Senate victory is significant. This is the first time the Senate has voted on ENDA in nearly 20 years, and importantly, it's the first time ever a Congressional chamber has voted on a gender identity-inclusive ENDA," said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling.

"Today's vote shows how much has changed in the last decade. First, gender identity was in the bill and no effort was made to remove it. Second, we now have solid partners in the LGBT and progressive movements working hard to educate the public about transgender workplace protections. Third, we have rock solid champions on the Hill like Senator Merkley, who we're honoring at our tenth anniversary event next week. He, along with Senators Kirk, Baldwin, Collins, Reid, Harkin, and many others paved this victory for transgender and all LGBT people. With today's strong bi-partisan vote on ENDA, the Senate showed that it agrees with the super majority of voters that LGBT people should have these basic job protections."

"Now, we turn to the House where thus far Speaker John Boehner refuses to acknowledge the plight of LGBT workers. House gridlock cannot be allowed to delay these already overdue protections. With 195 ENDA cosponsors in the House, nine of whom have come on board in the last week, momentum is there. NCTE calls on House Speaker Boehner to put ENDA to a vote."

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


Employment Non-Discrimination Act Secures Pivotal Procedrual Vote to Advance in U.S. Senate

Washington, DC - Tonight, the U.S. Senate approved a motion to proceed on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill that outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

In response to the U.S. Senate advancing ENDA, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling issued the following statement:

"Tonight's cloture vote is a significant step forward for transgender people and their families. For the first time, the Senate will begin debate on a gender identity inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. For far too long, transgender people have had to endure disrespect, discrimination and harassment just for being who they are. And tonight, the U.S. Senate took action toward ending that."

"We thank the 61 Senators who voted on the motion. Their vote means transgender people are one step closer to having security at work and may finally have the fair shot we all deserve to provide for our families and our loved ones."

"As ENDA makes its way through the Senate process, NCTE and our allies will remain vigilant of attempts to water down its protections and stop amendments that could hurt its chances of passing. However, with tonight's vote, we remain optimistic that champions for transgender equality will stand behind America's values and ensure that a strong ENDA successfully passes out of the Senate."

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling or Harper Jean Tobin, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


The Employment Non-Discrimination Act Will Receive Full Senate Vote by Thanksgiving

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NCTE Welcomes Forthcoming Senate Vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Washington, DC - Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the bi-partisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will be put to a vote in the U.S. Senate before Thanksgiving. In light of this development, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said:

"NCTE is grateful for Senator Reid and Senator Merkley for their leadership on moving ENDA forward. Their commitment to do this and to do it right is so important to transgender people. Right now, we have the best chance ever to pass ENDA through one of the chambers, which is going to be an important step for us to getting ENDA passed when it's finally able to move in the House." Keisling added, "Because of all the work people have done over the years at the grassroots level and on Capitol Hill, we're optimistic that the Senate vote will go our way. The forthcoming Senate vote will change the playing field once we have a friendlier House that can tackle ENDA."

ENDA was passed by the Senate Health Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on July 10, 2013, setting up this Senate Floor vote, which would be the first time ENDA has been voted on in the Senate in 17 years and the first time a trans-inclusive ENDA has received a vote.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) bans job discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. A 2011 research study confirms how pervasive job discrimination is against transgender Americans: 90% have faced disrespect, discrimination or harassment in the workplace because of who they are. However, polling shows people of faith, business owners, and a majority of Americans believe it is time to eradicate job discrimination against LGBT people: 70% of Republicans and 80% of all Americans support LGBT workplace protections.

NCTE is a founding member of Americans for Workplace Opportunity (AWO), a joint campaign to pass ENDA with the Human Rights Campaign, the Service Employees International Union, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Civil Liberties Union, AFSCME, American Unity Fund, Gill Action, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights. With the campaign, NCTE will continue to ensure transgender people take action for ENDA in key states across the country. Learn more about the campaign here: http://www.workplaceopportunity.org/.

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


Transgender Rights Group Joins National Call for House Action on Immigration Reform

In Light of House CIR Proposal, New Report Outlines Harm Facing Transgender Immigrants, Asylum Seekers, and Refugees

Download the report here: English | Spanish

Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) joined over four dozen labor and immigrants' rights organizations in calling for common sense immigration reform. On the heels of the House introduction of an immigration proposal and ahead of the "National Day of Dignity and Respect," -- a day of action scheduled for Saturday, October 5th, 2013 -- NCTE issued a new report outlining the barriers and harms transgender immigrants face while navigating the U.S. immigration system.

On the significance of the House immigration reform proposal, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, "Immigration reform is important to transgender people because many transgender people are undocumented, but that's really only part of its significance. We need reform because people are hurting without it and in our country we stand together to stop that. All people, including undocumented immigrants, deserve dignity and respect and we're proud to join national advocates in a unified call for immediate relief to every undocumented person struggling to make ends meet, care for their families, and contribute to our communities."

The new report, "Out Moment for Reform: Immigration and Transgender People," identifies four key challenges facing transgender immigrants:

Employment Insecurity: Undocumented transgender people are severely limited by living in the dual shadows of transphobia and their undocumented status. They are often unable to obtain legally authorized work in the U.S. or face exploitation by employers when they do manage to find employment. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 39% of undocumented transgender people had lost jobs due to bias compared to U.S. citizens (26%).

Income and Housing Insecurity: Employment insecurity results in high levels of poverty and homelessness among undocumented transgender people. Despite being more likely to have college-level education, undocumented transgender people are far more likely than transgender US citizens to live in poverty, and many more times as likely as the general population to live on less than $10,000 a year. Income insecurity paired with anti-transgender bias has resulted in over one in five undocumented transgender people (21%) having being evicted at least once due to bias, twice the rate reported among all transgender people.

Lack of Health Care Access: Like their non-transgender counterparts, undocumented transgender immigrants experience a high rate of being uninsured (36%)--more than twice the rate of the general population. Like all transgender people, undocumented transgender people who can obtain insurance coverage regularly face discrimination in the scope of their coverage. Four percent of undocumented transgender people experienced physical assault in a medical setting, twice the rate of the overall sample.

Creating a Pathway to Citizenship: Of the 267,000 undocumented LGBT people living in the U.S. today, an estimated 20,000 - 50,000 are transgender. For transgender and non-transgender immigrants alike, a pathway to citizenship would provide legal certainty that they will not be deported or separated from their families and communities, while improving their ability to earn a living and continue contributing to society.

Harper Jean Tobin, NCTE's Director of Policy and co-author of the report, said, "I wanted to write this report because of the horrific stories of transgender undocumented people out there. I think about Johanna, for example, who is a survivor of three sexual assaults. The first attack led her to seek asylum in the U.S. But when she missed a one-year filing deadline, she fell out of legal status, which led to her arrest. Without a lawyer to help her, and faced with suffering indefinitely in immigration detention, she resigned herself to deportation." Tobin added, "Johanna's experience is a too-frequent occurrence for undocumented transgender people and we must bring our immigration laws in line with our country's basic sense of dignity and respect for all people."

The report also identifies key failings in our current immigration system that can have especially harsh effects on transgender immigrants and their loved ones. Many transgender people come to the US fleeing violence and persecution because of who they are. Most are unaware that it is possible to seek asylum based on their transgender status, and find their claims blocked by an arbitrary one-year filing deadline. Many are eventually swept into immigration detention for months, without access to legal counsel. Transgender detainees face high rates of abuse in detention, yet often the only response is to automatically place them in indefinite solitary confinement - which medical experts say is yet another form of abuse. The report calls for commonsense reforms that address these problems and limits - rather than expand - our already massive, costly, and unnecessary use of detention.

"The case for immigration reform is clear," said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. "It's time for the House of Representatives to act reasonably and vote on common sense immigration reform. Immigration reform is good for our country because our country does better when each of us is participating. The time for common sense immigration reform is long overdue."

As outlined in this report, transgender people have a stake in common sense immigration reform. The National Center for Transgender Equality, together with other partners in the LGBT movement, will continue to pressure members of the House of Representatives to move reform forward and monitor the bill's progress to ensure that protections for transgender and LGBT immigrants remain strong.

Statements from immigrants' rights organizations on the importance of including transgender people in immigration reform:

Brent Wilkes, National Executive Director, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
"Our lesbian, gay, bisexual and in particular transgender brothers and sisters continue to suffer from significant discrimination in society. We know that transgender Latinos face multiple levels of discrimination in employment, housing and health security, which is made worse for undocumented transgender people. We have supported the inclusion of the full LGBT community in immigration reform legislation because we could not allow any member of our community to be treated differently. The LGBT community remains a supporter of immigration reform and we are all stronger for it. This uncompromising commitment to reform is a testament to the LGBT movement and reaffirms our partnership with the LGBT community as we continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform."

Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC)
"Passing an immigration law that respects human rights for all people remains critical to sexual minority immigrants, who are among the most vulnerable in the face of our current broken immigration system. With immigration-related arrests at an all-time high, transgender immigrants are more likely to face discrimination, abuse, and isolation in immigration detention. Often deprived access to legal counsel, these individuals face a grave risk of being unjustly deported to countries where they face persecution and torture simply because of their sexual identities. Congress has an opportunity with immigration reform to improve access to justice for all immigrants, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or any other characteristic. It is critical for members of the House and Senate to hear from Americans that immigration reform is still a priority for the LGBTQ community."

Doug Stump, President, American Immigration Lawyers Association
"AILA believes that the benefits of America's immigration system should not depend on your religion, your political beliefs, your sexual orientation, or your gender identity. Any American would agree that being forced to choose between your homeland and your loved one is a heart-breaking choice, and the historic Supreme Court decision to strike Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act brought us one step closer to eliminating that terrible choice for all families. We urge Congress to take the necessary steps to create an immigration system that lives up to American values because it's not about what you look like, who you love, or where you were born that makes you American - it's how you live your life and what you do that defines you here in this country."

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling or Harper Jean Tobin, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


LGBT Advocacy Organizations Call on House to Pass Immigration Reform Bill

This statement can be attributed to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, GetEQUAL, Equality Federation, National Center for Transgender Equality and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.

Today, House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill based on bipartisan policy. Every measure in the bill has support from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Not even a government shutdown will stop us or hold us back. America wants and needs a permanent solution to our broken immigration system this year.

The LGBT community is standing side-by-side with our allies in the immigrant rights community to pass immigration reform because our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keeping families together. Too many LGBT immigrants are forced to live in two closets. It's time for all immigrants to be able to come out of the shadows.

Immigration is an LGBT issue. For us, this fight is personal. This fight for reform is about our families, our communities and our nation's future. Thousands of people trapped in our broken immigration system are victimized and stigmatized due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We're in this fight to end the senseless deportations that tear apart families, to protect workers from exploitation and abuse and to fix our country's broken immigration system. We need a system that creates dignity and respect for all Americans, aspiring and citizens alike.

We're in this fight for the transgender immigrants who are vulnerable to discrimination, abuse and injustice in our immigration detention system, and who are frequently placed in solitary confinement despite the fact that it fails to prevent abuse and can seriously harm detainees' psychological health.

We're in this fight for immigrants who have legitimate asylum claims but are denied because an arbitrary filing deadline prevents the government from even considering the merits of their case. Many LGBT immigrants face the threat of violence or persecution if they are forced to return to their home countries.

We're in this fight because there must be a permanent solution that will provide the 11 million aspiring Americans, including the 267,000 LGBT immigrants, the opportunity to earn citizenship in the country they call home. We will continue to ratchet up the pressure until we make the promise of reform a reality.

We have seen some action from the Democratic leadership in the House - now it's time for the 26 Republican representatives who support a pathway to citizenship to also co-sponsor this bill. It's time for our Congress to stop playing politics and solve the problems of our country.

As reform moves forward, we want to be clear: we oppose the idea of relegating millions of immigrants to a permanent underclass where they can work in this country but never achieve citizenship.

Unlike the final Senate version, today's bill reflects a more reasonable, bipartisan alternative to the wasteful and unnecessary militarization of our border. We are committed to working with House leaders to ensure that the legislation that ultimately emerges from this debate offers the best path forward for all undocumented immigrants.

A House majority exists in support of immigration reform; however, the GOP is playing political games while 11 million lives hang in the balance. Speaker Boehner said he will not allow a vote if he doesn't have the support of the majority of his party. This means that a group of 118 representatives - just 27 percent of the House - holds the entire House hostage on this vital issue. This is outrageous and undemocratic. We refuse to allow a minority to block immigration reform we so urgently need.

We have seen these tactics used to shut down the government. We will not stand by and allow this small but vocal minority to do the same to immigration reform when families hang in the balance.

To learn more, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Welcomes New ICE Commitment to Limit Solitary Confinement in Immigration Detention

The National Center for Transgender Equality applauds the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directive issued Thursday, which has the potential to meaningfully improve federal oversight of use of solitary confinement in immigration detention. This development is especially important for transgender detainees and other vulnerable individuals who are regularly subjected to this harsh treatment for their own supposed protection. The new ICE directive is a response to years of advocacy by immigrant, human rights, and LGBT advocates, and indicates a serious effort to hold ICE contract facilities accountable.

"This is a very important step," said Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy. "We hope that ICE will move quickly and decisively to implement this directive, and to publish strong, binding regulations under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) to ensure that its contract facilities comply with stringent limits on this potentially dangerous form of confinement."

The new ICE directive requires all detention facilities that contract with ICE to report when they are using solitary confinement, and why, within certain time periods. The directive makes clear that solitary confinement must only be used as a last resort, and when all other alternatives have been considered, including release from detention when permitted by law. The directive prohibits placing individuals in solitary confinement solely because of personal characteristics such as being LGBT and creates special reporting and review requirements for vulnerable populations including LGBT people and victims of sexual abuse.

"We remain concerned that the directive does not eliminate the use of solitary confinement for extended periods and does not legally bind ICE's contract facilities themselves," said Tobin. "We are also concerned that the reporting period it establishes exceeds the 15 days which the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has determined can have serious and irreversible effects on an individual's health."

"Despite these concerns, this directive is a clear step in the right direction and sets a good example for prisons systems throughout the country to follow," said Tobin. On Thursday a two-month California hunger strike that had involved tens of thousands of prisons was ended when state legislators announced they would hold public hearings on California's use of solitary confinement. Advocates and legislators across the country are pushing to curtail or end solitary confinement.

Solitary confinement usually involves being held in a small cell for 23 hours a day, with virtually no contact with other human beings. Medical experts have long recognized that this kind of treatment can have dire, lasting consequences for physical and mental health, and under international law it can constitute torture. As both prison systems and the civil immigration detention system have vastly expanded in recent decades, solitary confinement became increasingly common. The federal government estimates that the number of adults in solitary confinement grew from nearly 60,000 in 1995 to well over 80,000 in 2005. Those figures don't even include minors or those held in civil immigration detention. A 2012 report found that solitary for immigrants "is often arbitrarily applied, significantly overused, harmful to detainees' health, and inadequately monitored," and that many people abandon their claims for legal residence just to end their time in "the hole." Recently, ICE's own survey found that 300 immigrant detainees are held in solitary confinement on any given day.

LGBT people, and especially transgender people, are often placed in automatic and indefinite solitary confinement, based on the justification that it is the only way to keep them safe. This automatic and often prolonged use of solitary confinement for LGBT detainees fails to actually prevent abuse, ignores more humane alternatives, and often inflicts grave harm.

To learn more or to speak with Harper Jean Tobin, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


Transgender Workers at Greater Risk for Unemployment and Poverty

New Report Finds Workplace Discrimination, Wage Disparities, and Health Disparities

A new report released today offers the most comprehensive analysis to date of the inequities facing transgender workers in the American workforce- from finding and keeping good jobs, to having equal access to job-related benefits, to obtaining adequate health insurance coverage. A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers is a companion to the recently released report, A Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits, and More Taxes for LGBT Workershttp://www.lgbtmap.org/lgbt-workers.

The report also offers specific recommendations for policymakers and employers to reduce and eliminate inequities for transgender workers and help restore America's basic workplace bargain of fairness and equality. A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers is co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the Center for American Progress (CAP), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in partnership with Freedom to Work, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, and SEIU.

The report is available online at www.lgbtmap.org/transgender-workers

Transgender Workers at a High Risk of Unemployment and Poverty

Recent CAP polling shows that 73% of voters support protecting transgender people from discrimination in employment. Despite this strong public support, no federal law provides explicit legal protections for transgender workers based on gender identity/expression- and only 17 states and the District of Columbia offer these protections. As a result, transgender workers face higher rates of unemployment and are at greater risk of poverty.

A Broken Bargain for Transgender Workers http://www.lgbtmap.org/transgender-workers reveals that:

  • Transgender workers report unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole (14% vs. 7% at the time the workers were surveyed).
  • More than four in 10 transgender people (44%) who are currently working are underemployed.
  • Transgender workers are nearly four times more likely than the population as a whole to have a household income of under $10,000 (15% vs. 4% at the time the workers were surveyed).

"This new report underscores the harsh reality of what it means to live and work as a transgender person in this country," said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE. "Like other workers, transgender Americans deserve to be judged by our work and contributions and not by one aspect of who we are."

How Americans' Basic Bargain is Broken for Transgender Workers

"Unfair laws and policies impose real, everyday burdens on transgender workers across the country," said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP. "It's shocking that in this day and age, federal non-discrimination law still does not explicitly protect a high-performing worker from being fired just because he or she is transgender."

Among the burdens and inequities faced by transgender workers:

  • Pervasive Misunderstanding, Hiring Bias and On-The-Job Discrimination. Many Americans have very little understanding of what it means to be transgender. As a result, for transgender people seeking work, the entire job search and hiring process is full of challenges, particularly if a legal name or gender on an identity document (e.g., a driver's license) does not match the outward appearance of the applicant. Once a transgender employee is hired, he or she may face many forms of harassment and discrimination, including denial of promotions or unfair firing.
  • Wage Inequities. In addition to job discrimination, transgender employees face wage disparities that make it harder for them to provide for themselves and their families.
  • Lack of Explicit Legal Protections. Transgender workers facing discrimination may seek recourse by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The EEOC will work to mediate a settlement on the worker's behalf and has done so successfully. However, EEOC rulings are not binding on private employers, furthering the need for explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender workers under federal law.
  • Inability to Update Identity Documents. Intrusive and burdensome requirements can still make it difficult or impossible for many transgender people to obtain accurate and consistent identification documents.
  • Unequal Access to Health Insurance Benefits. Exclusions in health insurance often deny transgender workers access to both basic healthcare and transition-related care.
  • Denial of Personal Medical Leave. Employers may deny transgender workers leave for necessary transition-related care, incorrectly stating that such care does not constitute a "serious medical condition." As a result, transgender employees may face a difficult choice: Put their jobs at risk to care for themselves, or make do without the necessary healthcare and put their health in jeopardy.

"Far too often, employers offer health benefits that do not provide the coverage and medical leave that are crucial to the wellbeing and security of transgender workers and their families,” said Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President of External Affairs at CAP. "Workplace fairness means more than freedom from harassment; it means equal access to the benefits that transgender employees need to live healthy and productive lives."

"Despite the progress made at the local, state, and federal levels, transgender Americans face workplace discrimination at alarming rates," said Jeff Krehely, Vice President and Chief Foundation Officer at the Human Rights Campaign. "The EEOC's recent decision in Holder v. Macy, which found that discrimination against transgender workers is prohibited since it is a form of sex-based discrimination, was important; however we have a ways to go until we are able to end the cycle of discrimination, unemployment, and underemployment of qualified workers who are willing and able to contribute to society in meaningful and productive ways."

Co-Authors

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

The Movement Advancement Project is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Partners

Freedom to Work

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

SEIU

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates


Trans People Unequivocally Have a Right to Health Care Access in Prison

In a statement issued yesterday, Chelsea Manning announced that she is a transgender woman and will be transitioning. The National Center for Transgender Equality's Executive Director Mara Keisling released the following statement:

"Regardless of what people think of Private Manning or her actions, her transition highlights the larger topics of respectful treatment of transgender people, protection for all prisoner, and whether prisoners should receive healthcare. The media has focused particularly on whether Private Manning will be permitted to access transition-related healthcare, and the Army has already released a statement saying that it will deny her access to healthcare treatments that are widely recognized as effective and appropriate for transgender people who medically transition.

Private Manning faces 35 years in the prison system, during which time she has a right to expect, like any other prisoner, that prison administrators will keep her safe and provide her basic needs, including healthcare.

We are troubled that the Department of the Army has already issued a statement denying such care to Private Manning, a decision that we will advocate against. In the United States we do not deny healthcare to prisoners. It is unconstitutional and it is morally wrong.

The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the denial of adequate medical treatment to prisoners. The medical profession is in agreement that transition-related medical treatments, including psychological therapy, hormone treatment, and even sex reassignment surgeries can all be appropriate treatments for gender dysphoria when deemed necessary by a treating medical provider. Deliberate indifference to transgender inmates' health needs by refusing such treatments outright is therefore a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment.

We expect, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, that all prisoners in military prisons will be permitted to access medical treatments that are determined by doctors to be appropriate."

To learn more, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Celebrates Historic Senate Committee Action to End Trans Job Discrimination

In a historic 15-7 bipartisan vote, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee moved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to the Senate floor. Today's committee action marks the first time ENDA has seen movement with gender identity protections.

National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said:

"We are extremely heartened that the Senate HELP committee passed ENDA today, moving it to the full Senate for action sometime this fall. With every Committee Democrat and three Republicans voting 'yes,' we are increasingly optimistic that we will have the 60 votes in the Senate and move further along towards winning relief for trans people who still face shocking amounts of job discrimination."

The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey revealed the troubling climate for transgender workers: 90% reported facing mistreatment, harassment or discrimination at work and more than 1 in 4 lost a job because of their transgender identity.

This morning on a conference call, transgender Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and former Navy SEAL Kristin Beck, expressed her fear of discrimination arriving at work presenting as female: "[J]ust for that one reason I can be fired on the spot. There's no recourse for that." She said, "I find it hard to believe" that people could lose their jobs for being transgender. She added that in "the land of the free and I am not free" without the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Listen to the full audio of the conference call here.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has been a leader on ensuring strong gender identity protections since ENDA was first introduced. NCTE turns its advocacy to the full Senate and educating both Democrats and Republicans about transgender job discrimination.

To learn more, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


PRESS CALL: Former Navy Seal Kristin Beck Speaks Out for Trans Workplace Rights

NCTE Executive Dir. Mara Keisling and Dir. of Policy Harper Jean Tobin to discuss forthcoming Senate HELP Committee ENDA vote and the state of workplace rights for LGBT Americans

Register here to confirm your attendance.

For the first time in nearly two decades, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee will vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would ban discrimination against workers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).

On Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. EDT, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling and Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin, will host a press call to share what to expect from the forthcoming Senate HELP committee mark-up and prospects for a full Senate vote. On the call, former U.S. Navy SEAL, Kristin Beck, will share the overwhelming difficulties she has faced with finding employment since she came out as transgender. A decorated veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Beck shared her transition story with Anderson Cooper last month. Since then, Beck has been an outspoken advocate for ENDA meeting with several members of Congress urging them to support this legislation.

ENDA has languished in Congress since it was first introduced in 1974. Since then, countless numbers of transgender and LGB Americans have lost their jobs because of a lack of federal protections that outlaw workplace discrimination. The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 90% of transgender and gender non-conforming people have experienced some form of harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job. Pervasive workplace harassment and discrimination contributes to extremely high rates of poverty: 15% of transgender respondents have household incomes under $10,000 per year, compared to just 4% of the population as a whole.

Who
Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality
Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy, National Center for Transgender Equality
Kristin Beck, Former US Navy SEAL, and author of "Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy SEAL's Journey to Coming Out Transgender"

When
Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
8:00 AM EDT - 8:45 AM EDT

Register here to confirm your attendance.

To learn more, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


Nation's Leading LGBT Advocacy Organizations Respond to Senate Bill, See Opportunities for Immigrants and Demand No More Punitive Measures

Today, the Senate passed a bill with the potential to transform the lives of 11 million immigrants, including 267,000 LGBT immigrants.

We are one step closer to reforming our immigration policies and keeping more families together. The Senate's action follows on the heels of the Supreme Court's historic ruling to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, which provides an estimated 28,500 same-sex, binational couples with an easier road to citizenship.

This legislation includes many provisions that will particularly benefit LGBT immigrants, such as eliminating the one-year bar on applying for asylum, providing protections for DREAMers and improving conditions for people held in detention facilities. The Senate's bill limits the use of solitary confinement and explicitly prohibits the use of this practice based solely on a detainees' sexual orientation or gender identity.

For all the good in the legislation, there are several hard pills to swallow. In exchange for its passage, the Senate pledged $40 billion for 'border security.' Our border communities will pay a heavy price for this mistaken political calculus. We believe the Senate made the wrong deal. This reckless and injudicious spending will have a harmful impact on border communities, particularly LGBT immigrants living on the border, and undermine the principles of humane enforcement.

The Senate also failed to include several amendments that would have strengthened the legislation for aspiring citizens and addressed the root causes of our patchwork of failed and mismanaged immigration policies. As the legislative process continues, we will advocate for provisions that protect workers, reunite families and allow young children to access the path to citizenship expeditiously. We will also advocate for tax-paying immigrants to receive their fair share of benefits and access to health care.

Now it's time for the House to act. No more compromises, no more piecemeal provisions, no more extremist amendments. It's time for the House of Representatives to introduce serious legislation that reflects the will of the country: to give 11 million men, women and children the chance to come out of the shadows and have a clear and direct path to citizenship.

To learn more, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


Health Care Insurance Marketplaces Open Today, Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

The health care reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act, requires all U.S. Citizens to have health insurance or pay a penalty. Fortunately, the new health care marketplaces that open today allows many people to access highly subsidized or even free health care coverage if they enroll through www.healthcare.gov.

The marketplace insurance plans will cover all essential health benefits, including doctor visits, preventative care, hospitalization, prescriptions, mental health and substance use disorder services, emergency services, and more.

Learn more here.
Enroll now at www.healthcare.gov.
For LGBT specific information, sign up at www.out2enroll.org.


Our Moment for Reform: Transgender People and Immigration

In light of a House Immigration Reform Proposal and ahead of the October 5th National Day of Dignity and Respect, this New Report Outlines Harm Facing Transgender Immigrants, Asylum Seekers, and Refugees

Download the report here: English | Spanish

Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) joined over four dozen labor and immigrants' rights organizations in calling for common sense immigration reform. On the heels of the House introduction of an immigration proposal and ahead of the "National Day of Dignity and Respect," -- a day of action scheduled for Saturday, October 5th, 2013 -- NCTE issued a new report outlining the barriers and harms transgender immigrants face while navigating the U.S. immigration system.

Read the full statement here.


NCTE Joins LGBT Advocacy Organizations in Calling on the House to Pass Immigration Reform

Today, House Democrats introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill based on bipartisan policy. Every measure in the bill has support from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Not even a government shutdown will stop us or hold us back. America wants and needs a permanent solution to our broken immigration system this year.

The LGBT community is standing side-by-side with our allies in the immigrant rights community to pass immigration reform because our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keeping families together. Too many LGBT immigrants are forced to live in two closets. It’s time for all immigrants to be able to come out of the shadows.

Read the full statement here.


Social Security Administration Modernizes Gender Change Policy for Trans People

Revised policy a major milestone in Federal recognition of transgender people

Download NCTE's new resource Transgender People and the Social Security Administration.

Learn more about how this may affect transgender Social Security account holders on our community call on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 from 5:30 PM EST - 7:00 PM EST. Register here.

View the updated SSA policy here.

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) applauds the Social Security Administration (SSA) for its decision today to change a policy protecting the privacy of transgender people.

The SSA has made it clearer and easier for transgender people to update the gender designation in Social Security records. The SSA joins other federal agencies like the U.S. State Department and the Veterans Health Administration in recognizing the realities of transgender lives and replacing outdated policies.

"Most people may not see this as a big deal, but transgender people know that this seemingly small technical change will protect their privacy and give them more control over their own lives" said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.

In light of the updated policy, NCTE has a released a guide to understanding the modernized policy called Transgender People and the Social Security Administration. The new resource answers commonly asked questions about the updated policy. It also provides step-by-step information for how account holders can change the gender designation in their Social Security record.

The new policy allows transgender people to change the gender designation on their Social Security records by submitting either government-issued documentation reflecting a change, or certification from a physician confirming that they have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition. This policy replaces SSA's outdated policy, which required documentation of specific surgeries. The U.S. Military is the last remaining federal institution to rely on these outdated requirements to change gender designations forcing veterans and retirees to meet extremely burdensome and unreasonable requirements.

NCTE Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin said, "The new policy gets rid of old, arbitrary requirements where people had to submit proof of specific medical treatments to update SSA records, even though these may not be available or appropriate for every person. The SSA's revised policy makes it one of the last remaining major federal agency policies to drop these outdated requirements."

"Prior to this policy update, trans people risked being unsafely outed to front line Social Security staff as well as to any number of other bureaucrats and people they interacted with in their daily lives," said Tobin.

Keisling added, "Importantly, Social Security records are gateways to so many other kinds of identity documents, from driver's licenses to employment records, all of us depend on it in one way or another. This seemingly minor technical improvement touches every aspect of our lives and will have a profound impact on changing the way transgender people live and work."

NCTE worked for seven years in collaboration with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. We will continue working to ensure that transgender people have access to identity records and documents that match their gender identity.

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling or Harper Jean Tobin, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Applauds Reappointment of Commissioner Chai Feldblum

The National Center for Transgender Equality congratulates Commissioner Chai Feldblum on her reappointment to the Equal Employment Oportunity Commision (EEOC) and we strongly commend President Obama for this selection.

Commissioner Feldblum has devoted her entire professional career to promoting workplace fairness and civil rights. Her work and her thinking have been essential to decades of equal employment advances in the U.S.

According to NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, "I am very pleased and impressed that President Obama continues to appoint such experienced, thoughtful and committed people like Chai Feldblum to positions that matter so much to transgender working people."

NCTE asks the US Senate to act quickly to reconfirm Commissioner Feldblum.

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


Nation's Leading LGBT Advocacy Organizations Respond to Senate Judiciary Committee Failure to Consider UAFA

This statement can be attributed to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, Lambda Legal, Equality Federation and the National Center for Transgender Equality

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to passing compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented men, women and children living in our country, including at least 267,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants.

"We are disappointed that certain senators threatened the entire immigration reform bill simply because it affords 28,500 same-sex binational couples equal immigration rights. At the same time, we thank Senator Leahy for standing up for these families. A majority of Americans - 53 percent - believe that all consenting adults should have the right to get married and that gender should not play a role in who is considered family.

"It is unconscionable that lawmakers committed to equality and commonsense, humane immigration policy were forced to make a false choice between protecting the rights of same-sex binational couples and keeping a tenuous coalition together. This take-it-or-leave-it stance with regard to same-sex binational couples is not helpful when we all share the same goal of passing comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship.

"Beyond the issue of same-sex binational couples, the bill addresses many issues that will particularly benefit LGBT people, such as eliminating the one-year bar on applying for asylum, providing protections for DREAMers and improving conditions for people held in detention facilities. These include important protections limiting the use of solitary confinement and explicitly prohibiting the use of this practice based solely on a detainee’s sexual orientation or gender identity. We will continue to work to improve the legislation as we fight for its passage because this bill is a historic step forward for all immigrants and the LGBT community.

"Our primary goal is to pass a commonsense, compassionate immigration reform bill that puts our nation's undocumented men, women and children on a pathway to citizenship.

"We desperately need to reform our broken immigration system immediately because it dehumanizes, scapegoats and vilifies all immigrants, including LGBT immigrants. We will continue to advocate and support changes to the bill that will create the most accessible pathway to citizenship possible and allow all undocumented immigrants the opportunity to become citizens, and we will continue to ardently oppose draconian amendments that would make immigrants permanent second-class citizens and create undue hardships along a pathway to citizenship.

"Every day we fail to reform our system, 1,100 families are torn apart. As a nation, we pride ourselves on keeping families united, and our immigration policies should reflect our commitment to keep families together - all families.

"We stand firmly that the following principles must be included if we are to truly have comprehensive immigration reform legislation:

  • Provide a pathway to citizenship;
  • Ensure that family unity is at the heart of immigration law and policy;
  • End unjust detentions and deportations;
  • Uphold labor and employment standards, and ensure that the enforcement of immigration law does not undermine labor and employment rights;
  • Promote a dignified quality of life for border communities by ensuring border agencies uphold basic civil and human rights protections; and
  • Ensure immigrant members of our community are not relegated to second-class status with fewer rights and benefits."

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Welcomes Lisa Mottet as Deputy Executive Director

Washington, DC - National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is hiring Lisa Mottet as its Deputy Executive Director. Mottet is among the most successful leaders in the LGBT movement driving much of the progress on local and state level transgender inclusive anti-discrimination laws and federal policy advocacy.

"In 2001, Lisa became the first attorney working full-time on trans rights at the national level when she started the Transgender Civil Rights Project at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (the Task Force). Since then, she has been a driving force expanding the number of jurisdictions with transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination laws from 5% to 45%. The whole staff is excited to have her on board to invigorate our local and state efforts while also stewarding our advocacy, fundraising, and communications priorities," said Mara Keisling, NCTE Executive Director.

NCTE has worked with Mottet around federal policy and state and local advocacy since NCTE started ten years ago. Mottet was one of the lead co-authors of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey that NCTE co-produced with the Task Force, which has changed the landscape of transgender policy advocacy. She also co-authored "Transitioning Our Shelters: A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People," which is still the definitive guide in the subject area.

Mottet has also been a force in federal legislation and federal administrative policy advocacy, having led the successful strategy to add "gender identity" to the federal hate crimes bill before it passed, and being a lead architect behind a transgender inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Keisling said, "Lisa is smart, politically savvy, well-connected and well-liked throughout the LGBT and transgender movements in the U.S. She has a rare combination of seeing both the large picture as well as the details of what will make an idea into a success and knows how to work with people and teams in a collaborative way."

Mottet is a graduate of the University of Washington and Georgetown University Law Center. Before law school, Mottet was a board member of Equality Washington. Her writing and advocacy has earned her top recognitions from the National LGBT Bar Association and from numerous state and local transgender advocacy groups, such as Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and Transgender Health Empowerment of Washington, DC.

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


Over 30 Transgender Advocacy Groups Join National Call for Immigration Reform

Broad Coalition Release Statement of Principles on Immigration Reform Read the statement here.

Washington, DC - Today, as thousands march in the nation's capital in support of immigration reform, the National Center for Transgender Equality and over 30 transgender service and advocacy groups released a Statement of Principles on Immigration Reform. The statement outlines fundamental policies critical for reform that affect the estimated 20,000 undocumented transgender adults in the U.S., and thousands of transgender youth who came to the U.S. at an early age and also lack legal status.

NCTE Director of Policy Harper Jean Tobin said, "For thousands of transgender immigrants and their families, the need for reform is especially urgent. They are frequently locked out of asylum protections when they come here fleeing anti-trans violence, denied recognition for their families, subjected to especially harsh and dangerous detention conditions, and often deported back into harm's way. This goes to the core of what NCTE stands for."

Statement signatories include local and national transgender advocacy groups from across the U.S. including the Trans People of Color Coalition, Gender Justice Nevada, and The TransLatin@ Coalition.

"Immigration is an issue that impacts us all and reform is necessary as the racial and ethnic composition of our country has vastly changed over the past few decades. These concerns must be addressed for us to move forward on every issue from the economy to education. Everyone deserves fair and just immigration policies that ensures dignity and respect," said Kylar W. Broadus, founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC)

Jane Heenan, Co-Director of Gender Justice Nevada, said, “Immigration reform is important because trans communities suffer specific and sometimes unspeakable harm from current policies. From the pervasive discrimination that keeps trans people from meeting employment requirements to the unreasonableness of immediately disclosing anti-trans persecution to officials, the current system does not work for trans communities."

Bamby Salcedo, Founder and President of The TransLatin@ Coalition said, "Immigration issues are trans issues and there are many trans brothers and sisters that are in the shadows because they may be undocumented, or they may have a loved one that is undocumented or detained in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. We need to support immigration reform because it will provide a better way of life for many people who are still in the shadows, including trans people."

The National Center for Transgender Equality will continue to work with LGBT, human rights, and immigrants' rights organizations to advocate for common sense immigration reform.

Read the Immigration Reform Statement of Principles here.


NCTE Responds to Withdrawal of Medicare Public Comment Process

Washington, DC - Last night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) withdrew the public comment process on updating the national coverage determination to include sex reassignment surgery. In response to this development, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said:

"What HHS did is very positive news from our perspective. They haven't stopped considering coverage of sex reassignment surgery under Medicare. Instead, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is housed under HHS, decided to use a different administrative process to change whether Medicare covers medically necessary sex reassignment surgery. What matters is that we get a fair and scientific process. We'll win that every time."

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Celebrates Passage of a Strong LGBT-Inclusive Violence Against Women Act

Washington, DC - Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) celebrates the passage of a strong bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, which now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. As one of NCTE's top priorities for the year, we commend the U.S. House of Representatives for rejecting attempts to exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, Native Americans and immigrants from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling commended the passage of VAWA saying, “We are pleased that the House passed a strong Violence Against Women Act ensuring key protections for all survivors of violence. This is so important to the many transgender people who experience violence and abuse almost daily. VAWA will give all of our communities-LGBT, immigrant, and Native American-the access we need to services that protect us from abuse."

A 2011 survey of 6,500 transgender and gender non-conforming people found that nearly a fifth of respondents (19%) have experienced domestic violence from a family member because of their gender identity. Ten percent of respondents faced denial of equal treatment or harassment and disrespect in domestic violence or shelter programs because of their gender identity. An additional one percent said they were physically assaulted in a domestic violence or shelter program because of their gender identity.

"Transgender victims of violence can be victimized again by a discriminatory system that's supposed to help them," said Keisling. VAWA extends crucial nondiscrimination protections to ensure that transgender people can access federally-funded programs for survivors of violence. VAWA also provides key protections for immigrants and Native Americans.

Keisling added, "Importantly, after President Barack Obama's signature, the Violence Against Women Act will become our nation's second fully LGBT-inclusive federal law after the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act."

NCTE and our allies at the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, the Human Rights Campaign, and other organizations will continue engaging with advocates to ensure that LGBT people have a role in the implementation of VAWA.

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


Tell Secretary Napolitano to Protect LGBT Immigration Detainees from Sexual Abuse

Rape and sexual abuse is wrong regardless of gender identity or citizenship status. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has an opportunity to stop this abuse, but she depends on individuals speaking out asking her to address this issue.

Take action here


NCTE Calls on Secretary Napolitano to Strengthen Standards to End Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention

Washington, DC - The National Center for Transgender Equality urges Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to strengthen the standards to end sexual abuse and violence in immigration detention facilities.

Those standards would have protected people like Juan. Juan, a gay man, was detained by DHS where he was sexually assaulted by two other detainees.

"[The assailants] planned everything and made me agree and because I feared that they would do something to me [I] accepted," Juan said. Staff refused to transfer him to another facility, and instead, placed him in solitary confinement. Instead of protecting him from further abuse, staff told him to "walk like a man, not like a gay man."

In May 2012, the Department of Justice issued standards to address this problem in jails, prisons, and police lock-ups. NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, "The Department of Justice took an important step in making sure that our government works to end sexual abuse in prison systems. And now, Secretary Napolitano has an opportunity to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security does the same for immigration detention facilities."

Already surviving rape from her home country, Esmeralda Soto was seeking asylum in the U.S. attempting to escape from further persecution. Esmeralda, a transgender woman, was forced to perform oral sex on an immigration official while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, "We've got to fix this. As President Obama and Congress move closer to addressing our immigration system overall, Secretary Napolitano should remember that she already has the authority to reform and improve the way we treat people in immigration detention right now."

Secretary Napolitano is expected to issue standards to address sexual abuse in immigration detention facilities, however the proposed form of the standards include significant flaws. The standards currently allow some immigration detention facilities to delay adoption of these protections indefinitely and they do not require training all facility staff on critical topics such as working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and people with intersex conditions (LGBTI). The standards also do not adequately outline how to safely search and house transgender detainees.

Each year over 500,000 people are detained by the Department of Homeland Security, many are LGBTI people who face heightened risk of abuse.

When her attacker was arrested and jailed, Esmeralda suffered from retaliation and often feared for her life. Keisling said, "Secretary Napolitano can prevent future cases of violence if the Department of Homeland Security creates standards that protect everyone from sexual abuse regardless of gender identity or immigration status."

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Applauds Senate Passage of Violence Against Women Act

Calls on House to swiftly Pass bi-partisan bill that protects all survivors of violence.

Washington, DC - Today, by a vote of 78 to 22, the United States Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act, an inclusive landmark bill that would reauthorize funding of programs for survivors of violence and provide needed improvements to the law, including LGBT-inclusive protections.

In response to this development, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling issued the following statement:

Today's Senate passage of VAWA is the first step to ensuring that every person in need, including LGBT people, immigrants, and Native Americans, have access to programs that serve survivors of violence. Now we need swift action from the House to pass this bi-partisan bill that protects all survivors of violence.

While the reauthorization languished in Congress for longer than a year, critical programs have seen their funding jeopardized, and some LGBT people have faced discrimination in accessing programs. While NCTE applauds the Senate for taking this important step, survivors of violence cannot wait any longer, including the almost 20 percent of transgender people who've reported facing domestic abuse.

We urge the leadership of the House of Representatives to stop their partisanship and make these programs more accessible. NCTE will continue to work with individuals and advocates to support the reauthorization of VAWA, and calls on the House to pass a strong, bi-partisan bill that protects all survivors of violence.

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


NCTE Outlines Ambitious Policy Goals for the New Year, 13 Goals for 2013

Download 13 Goals for 2013 here.

Washington, DC - Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality released their policy goals for 2013. While NCTE continues to press assertively for the almost 100 policy goals described in the Blueprint for Equality document, these 13 goals represent policies that are likely to be attained before the year is over.

Many of these goals reflect a common theme: the Obama Administration has, and should use, broad authority to prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination by entities that receive federal funds, whether in employment, health care, housing, or education. For example, NCTE is calling on President Obama to issue an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation by federal contractors. The list also includes advocating the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to issue enforcement guidelines around the landmark Mia v. Macy decision banning gender identity discrimination in the workplace.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, "A robust agenda requires robust action. 2013 is going to be another really big year with the expertise and connections that we have. We've laid the groundwork to get a lot done this year. And while we'll continue to advocate for dozens of policies over the next four years, we'll also keep training, keep educating, and keep pushing for these 13 specific advancements."

To learn more or to speak with Mara Keisling, please contact Vincent Paolo Villano at vvillano@transequality.org / (o) 202-903-0112, (c) 202-631-9640.


 

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