Ninety percent of trans Indians face harrassment, survey finds

Members of Chandigarh's transgender welfare board advised the university (Photo: Facebook)

Nearly all trans people face daily harassment and discrimination, according to a survey by Panjab University in Chandigarh, northern India.

Ninety-six percent, or 50 out of 52 respondents, said they were victims of sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, 88% said police harassment was commonplace. More than 90% said they faced discrimination, attacks, and felt unsafe in their neighborhoods.

What’s more, 87% said their family had rejected them.

‘Fear, shame, and non-acceptance’

India’s Supreme Court in 2014 recognized transgender identities as an official third gender.

Although the ruling recognized trans and non-binary Indians, they remain marginalized by society.

Panjab University’s survey found that only one third declared themselves as trans on identity documents because of fear of discrimination.

‘Discrimination against transgenders is so rampant that they don’t want to take any chance and declare in the vital identity document that they belong to the marginalised group’ the survey found, according to the Tribune India.

‘Fear, shame and non-acceptance by society are some of the other reasons cited by them’.

It is not easy for trans Indians to find work. The survey found 20% relied on begging. Twenty percent, meanwhile, worked in sex work. Nearly 40% worked blessing newborn babies.

Most reported to be on low incomes. They are more likely to have health problems but also face discrimination in government hospitals.

‘With virtually no social support, restricted means of livelihood, discrimination from all sections of society and apathy from the government, transgenders remain vulnerable to many psychological problems’ the study also said.

Trans rights in India

India’s Supreme Court in 2014 recognized transgender identities as an official third gender.

Although the ruling recognized trans and non-binary Indians, they remain marginalized by society.

Transgender Indians slammed a trans rights bill currently in parliament.

They say it would impede their rights rather than protect them.

Significantly, the bill does not give the right for Indians to choose their own gender. Instead, authorities would ‘inspect’ them.

Author: Rik Glauert

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Trans law student claims tutor said he ‘couldn’t stand gay people’, sues school

Lady Justice represents law, fairness, and justice

A transgender student is suing is her law school in California after alleged harassment and discrimination due to her gender identity.

Shiloh Betancourt began attending California Western School of Law in San Diego in the fall of 2016. She is now suing for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by administrators, including assistant dean for Student and Diversity Services, Susan Finster.

According to her lawsuit, filed 7 January with the San Diego Superior Court, the harassment began only days into the January 2017 semester.

Around this time, Betancourt met with one of her professors. He allegedly asked her what her name was before transitioning.

This is what’s known as ‘deadnaming’ — referring to or bringing up a trans person’s name prior to their transition. It invalidates a trans person’s identity.

Betancourt explains in the lawsuit she began to fill ‘dismissed’ by the school and its various figures.

She went to the school’s Diversity Services Office for help regarding gender dysphoria. They reportedly told her, however, that they do not have resources for transgender students.

Figures of power and their words

Betancourt singled out two people in her lawsuit.

One of the first was a tutor she had at the school. According to the lawsuit, ‘Betancourt observed how [the tutor] was very engaged and focused while helping other students but disinterested and detached to Betancourt.’

She also alleges that the tutor once said he ‘cannot stand the sight of gay people’.

Betancourt filed a complaint, but said the treatment continued from other authority figures as well as students.

Another incident alleged in the lawsuit took place in February 2018. Betancourt was wearing a sweater and skirt to school. When Finster saw her, she reportedly commented: ‘I know how you stay warm because my son also stays warm because he has a lot of testosterone.’

Consequences and response

Though Betancourt finished in the top 13% of her class after her first year, she said she dropped out due to health reasons from the discrimination.

She now attends Arizona State University Law School.

‘It was my understanding that lawyers had a more sophisticated sense of respect for diversity and inclusion,’ she told NBC 7. ‘But I was shocked to experience otherwise.’

Marilyn Jordan, a spokesperson for the law school, released the following statement:

California Western denies the allegations made in the civil complaint filed by former student Shiloh Bentacourt. The law school will defend its good name vigorously in response to her complaint and is confident that the evidence will show that it did not violate Ms. Bentacourt’s rights.

See also

Conservative group sues to block trans women from using faith-based shelter

Lawsuit against Drag Queen Story Hour thrown out of court

Trans prisoner moved to female prison after year-long court battle

Author: Anya Crittenton

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3 in 10 California youth have been mocked by family for being LGBTI

A sign at a protest celebrating trans youth in 2017

As studies and reports focused on LGBTI youth around the world continue, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and University of Connecticut released a new one on Thursday (10 January) specifically focusing on California youth.

The California LGBTQ Youth Report looks at various aspects of LGBTI youth life in the state, from school to home.

HRC partnered with nine civil rights and education organizations in preparation of this report.

They collected data from 1,700 California youth ranging in age from 13-17 who participated in HRC’s 2017 LGBTQ Teen Survey.

‘This groundbreaking data reveals that the cards remain stacked against LGBTQ youth in California — and especially so for LGBTQ youth of color and transgender and gender-expansive youth,’ said Ellen Kahn, HRC Foundation Director of the Children, Youth & Families Program.

The report’s findings

2 in 10 California LGBTI youth are out to all of their parents. 36%, however, find the idea of coming out to their parents ‘extremely stressful’.

One reason could be that parents and other family members say negative things about LGBTI people.

45% of these youth say family members make negative remarks about LGBTI people in general, while 29% say they’ve been taunted or mocked by family members for being LGBTI

At school, meanwhile, only 10% say all of their school staff is supportive of LGBTI students. In a GLSEN report about LGBTI students’ experiences at school state-by-state, more than half of California students reported having a supportive administration and more than 6 faculty members. The key difference could be the inclusion of the world ‘all’ in the HRC report.

They also experience harassment and discrimination at school.

28% say they’ve been physically threatened at least once due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, perceived or otherwise. Another half have been teased or bullied for the same reasons.

Intersectional LGBTI youth

As other studies have shown, trans and LGBTI youth of color face different struggles than their cis and white peers.

Only 40% of trans and non-binary California students say people use their true names at school. 21%, meanwhile, say people use the correct pronouns at school.

The simple act of using a person’s true name or pronouns can help their mental health, which is important for LGBTI youth.

Further, a majority of LGBTI youth of color (82%) say they’ve experienced racism and racial prejudice. Another 60% say they think about race every day and that the US regards their race negatively.

More from Gay Star News

California offers ‘non-binary’ gender option on state ID cards in 2019

California becomes first state to adopt LGBTI-inclusive history textbooks

8-year-old transgender girl sues California school for discrimination

Author: Anya Crittenton

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