During her keynote address last night in Anchorage, National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling presented the findings of the organization’s wide-ranging survey of Alaska’s transgender population.
The U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS), conducted in the summer of 2015 and released last year, gathered responses from 27,715 transgender Americans, including 84 transgender Alaskans. It paints a vivid picture of the pervasive discrimination experienced by transgender Alaskans—discrimination that would be given new power if non-discrimination protections for transgender people in Anchorage are repealed by Proposition 1 next April.
According to the survey’s topline findings, a stunning 85% of transgender Alaskans who were openly or perceived as transgender during their childhood experienced discrimination, incidents that ranged from verbal harassment (58% reported) to physical violence (30% reported).
And that discrimination continues into adulthood. A quarter of transgender Alaskans who had a job in the last year reported that they were targeted at work by being forced to present as the wrong gender, use the wrong restroom facilities, or having personal information divulged to coworkers without their permission. Fourteen percent have lost a job because they are transgender.
This kind of workplace discrimination, unsurprisingly, leads to economic insecurity, including inability to find a stable place to live. Nearly a third of transgender Alaskans said they had experienced some form of housing discrimination in the last year, like being evicted or denied a rental, because they are transgender. And 43% said they had been homeless at some point in their lives because of these discriminatory practices.
Nearly as many (39%) of transgender Alaskans experienced a denial of service, verbal harassment, or other discrimination in a place of public accommodation in the last year. And 57% said they avoided using public restrooms facilities because of the threat of harassment and violence.
Right now, Anchorage’s local non-discrimination ordinance protects transgender people living in the city from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations—the kind of discrimination reported most frequently in the USTS. While the threat is still there, transgender Alaskans who work and live in Anchorage know that if they are targeted, the law is on their side.
If the parts of the law that protect transgender people from this kind of discrimination are repealed by Proposition 1 during next April’s election, that would no longer be the case, and transgender people in Anchorage would have no explicit legal recourse if they’re targeted.
Fair Anchorage is working hard to ensure that Proposition 1 does not bring discrimination back to Anchorage. Join the movement by signing our No On Prop 1 campaign pledge to vote against this dangerous initiative next April.