November marks Transgender Awareness Month. Cities throughout the country are lighting up City Hall with the Trans flag and raising the Trans flag to commemorate the remembrance of transgender individuals lost to violence. November 20th marks Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a date on which vigils and events are held across the nation to remember transgender individuals who have been murdered due to their gender identity.
Discrimination and marginalization of transgender individuals is associated with a range of health conditions, including substance use, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. Transgender individuals report experiencing high levels of discrimination and violence, in addition to high levels of safety concerns and a need to be vigilant to maintain the safety of their environment. Furthermore, the stress that arises from high levels of violence and discrimination that transgender individuals experience significantly impacts their mental and physical health (Veldhuis et al., 2018). The well-being and safety of transgender individuals is also a public health issue, as transgender women are nearly 50 times more likely to get HIV than the general population.
Although there is a long way to go regarding the rights of transgender individuals, it is important to recognize the strides that have been made regarding transgender equality:
- In 2016, the Obama administration directed U.S schools to allow students to use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.
- Boston launched a transgender medical center ad passed a state bill which prohibited discrimination against transgender people in areas of public accommodation, including restrooms.
- In our city of Philadelphia, the Trans flag has been raised at City Hall on TDOR for the past five years.
For valuable information regarding Transgender Awareness Month and Transgender Awareness Day of Remembrance, head over to GLADD’s website which highlights the achievements for the transgender community: gladd.org/transweek
Veldhuis, C. B., Drabble, L., Riggle, E. D., Wootton, A. R., & Hughes, T. L. (2018). “I Fear for My Safety, but Want to Show Bravery for Others”: Violence and Discrimination Concerns Among Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Individuals After the 2016 Presidential Election. Violence and Gender, 5(1), 26-36.
Author: Kimberley Desir, MS