Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Online Extra: Gays Across America: Resolution aims to help fight violence, discrimination


Congressman Keith Ellison
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A resolution introduced recently by Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), calls for more attention on the violence and discrimination that transgender women of color face. The resolution – H.Res. 545 – also seeks to create better policies aimed at protecting trans Americans.

In a statement shared by the LGBT nonprofit Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Ellison stated, "Because of persistent racism and sexism, life is harder for women of color in our country. That's especially true for trans women of color, who face even more barriers to the employment, education, and housing we all need to live safe and healthy lives. I've introduced this resolution simply because I want us to be a nation in which all people, regardless of their race, sex, gender identity, or religious affiliation should worry if they will their life taken simply because of who they are."

Lambda Legal praised Ellison's resolution.

"For Congress, the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging that there is one, and Rep. Ellison's leadership today on officially recognizing the fatal violence and other challenges faced by transgender women of color is a good start to a lot of important work ahead," Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal's director of strategy, said in a news release September 28, the day Ellison introduced the resolution. "... The needs of transgender people and the epidemic of transgender violence warrant this level of attention from the highest levels of government. Lambda Legal commends Rep. Ellison for using his powerful voice and position to lift up this issue and give it the attention it deserves, which is long overdue."


Report highlights concerns of black trans people

A new national report highlights some of the challenges that black trans people face.

The U.S. Transgender Survey was first published by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2015, but the National Black Justice Coalition says it's the largest survey of transgender identity in the U.S., and the coalition recently joined NCTE and other groups to produce a new report highlighting the concerns of black trans people across the country.

Among other findings 38 percent of black respondents were living in poverty, considerably higher than the 24 percent of black people in the U.S. population living in poverty.

The report also says that of the black respondents to the survey, 6.7 percent reported they were living with HIV. That's almost five times the rate in the overall survey, according to the NBJC.

Finally, one of every five – or 20 percent – of the black respondents was unemployed. Among the black people in the U.S. population, the rate was only 10 percent, the report says.

"A key priority of NBJC is supporting an informed and solution-oriented constituency that advocates for federal investments to address critical issues at the intersection of racial justice and LGBTQ equality," NBJC Executive Director David J. Johns said in a September 28 news release announcing the new report.

Johns continued, "This report, which highlights the responses of black transgender people in the United States is essential to advocating for policies, programs and practices designed to support all members of the black community, especially those most often neglected and ignored."

The full survey is available at Black Respondents Report.pdf.


Gays Across America is a column addressing LGBTQ issues nationwide. It runs most Tuesdays. Please submit comments or column ideas to Seth Hemmelgarn at (415) 875-9986 or




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