It can be said that transgender people have the odds stacked against them before they’ve even started in life.
A quick Google search illustrates this; violence and murder are among some of the links that come up. Also, a lack of understanding is still clearly shown across the globe.
Transgender people face discrimination in numerous ways throughout their lives, from their prominent childhood years into their adulthood when they try and find a job (see graph).
This discrimination comes from numerous sources for some this can be their work colleagues, their peers and even their family. Some trans people have a supportive network of family and friends whilst others do not.
Possibly stemming from this discrimination, a considerable problem for transgender people is the amount that experience mental health issues. “A third of transgender adults and half of “gender-variant” young people attempt suicide, and transgender people in the UK face high levels of transphobia on a daily basis.”
Transgender people want to overcome this judgement, they want people to know that being transgender is not a choice, it’s just who you are. This common misconception of it being a choice is just one of the issues that transgender people face.
I think that awareness and acceptance is growing, but at a slow rate. There is much more legislation to support transgender people now, particularly in the last few years. This includes The Equality Act 2010. “This officially added "gender reassignment" as a "protected characteristic," stating that:
"A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person's sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.”
It is a current issue and ‘gender’ as a topic has been prevalent in the news throughout the past few years. In 2017 John Lewis removed the “girls” and “boys” labels in children’s clothing to avoid gender stereotypes, a move which has been generally praised. More companies’ e.g. H&M are following suit and challenging gender stereotypes. In 2016 H&M featured a transgender model and a same sex kiss in their campaigns. Furthermore, schools are now teaching children about gender identity and are working to be more gender inclusive. This has also helped the issue to be brought into the public eye.
Celebrities like Laverne Cox have been said to help transgender people gain attention, by bringing their openness into the spotlight. Laverne is best known for her role in Orange Is The New Black; in 2017, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role in this programme. She also was the first open transgender woman to be nominated for an Emmy award.
I think that the awareness and acceptance for transgender people should increase in the future, I hope that there comes a time where transgender people are not labelled and instead are recognised purely for their talents.
Above: Actress Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black.
She is also the face of Beyonce's sports brand Ivy Park