homelessness among transgender people
Discrimination while seeking steady employment, discrimination while seeking stable housing, rejection from their family of origin forcing them to leave home at a young age: these are a few of the reasons that the rates for homelessness among the transgender community are astoundingly high. Roughly one out of five transgender people are categorized as having, “unstable housing,” which in reality is just a gentler way of saying they’re homeless. Whether it is staying on a friend’s couch here and there, bouncing from one shelter to another, or straight up living on the streets the results are the same. Young people who are forced out of their homes by family rejection are especially affected. If you’re trying to make it on your own as a teenager there is a likelihood that you will experience homelessness. Currently, there are more than 350,000 homeless transgender individuals under the age of 25 in the U.S.
Discrimination is the root cause
Research indicates that more than all the other factors involved, discrimination is the reason why so many transgender people find themselves forced to live on the streets. One study performed at the Suffolk University Law School Housing Discrimination Testing Program in Boston found that transgender or gender non-conforming individuals experienced discriminatory treatment 61% of the time while trying to rent housing from landlords. Compared to a control group of cisgender renters, trans, and gender non-conforming people were quoted higher prices for rent and more expensive security deposits. Appallingly, in most states, it’s legal to discriminate against people looking for housing in this way. In states where it is illegal, discriminatory practices that affect the LGBTQ community are continuing unchecked.
Transgender people also face discrimination in the workplace and applying for employment. Many of them might not even have the financial means to afford legit housing. That difficulty in obtaining employment with a living wage has a rippling effect. As transgender people find themselves impoverished and subsequently living homeless, it’s hard to avoid getting a criminal record of some kind for at least low-level offenses like shoplifting for food, public urination, loitering and things like that. Any kind of criminal record will only add to the challenges of finding a job and a place to live
Discrimination in shelters
Transgender homeless people may find discrimination at homeless shelters, too. They might be flat out turned away or kicked out for minor rule infractions. They may be housed uncomfortably and inappropriately in gender-specific rooms that don’t match their gender identity. Transgender women frequently experience transphobic violence, sexual harassment or sexual assault while staying in homeless shelters, making staying in a shelter not all that much safer than staying on the streets.
Underneath such pressures, transgender women often resort to sex work or trading sex for a place to stay. Needless to say, that comes with a myriad of risks involved. Dealing with these harsh and crippling circumstances, transgender homeless will often find themselves drinking alcoholically or using dangerous drugs to cope. The many challenges related to transgender discrimination leading to transgender homelessness can become a spiraling black hole of one challenge creating another barrier leading to another. Transgender homelessness becomes a veritable quagmire that is increasingly difficult to pull oneself out of without help.
TranspireHelp recognizes this pervasive problem and aspires to provide resources and pro-active solutions that help transgender people experiencing homelessness get on their feet. TranspireHelp also offers connections to alcoholism and substance abuse treatment and counseling for mental health. Through coordinating resources and supporting individuals this organization strives to significantly improve the lives of struggling transgender people and others in the LGBTQ community. Together we can all make a real difference. Together we can dismantle the barriers created by LGBTQ discrimination.