By Jaime Grant, Contributing Editor, Genders and Sexuality
Editor’s note: Desiree Alliance’s decision to boycott the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia prompted the writing of this piece. Desiree Alliance is a coalition of sex workers, health professionals, social scientists, professional sex educators, and their supporting networks working together for an improved understanding of the sex industry and its human, social, and political impacts. Read their boycott letter here.
To support trans leaders around the world in their research and advocacy efforts, the Global Trans Research and Advocacy Project (GTRAP) has been drawing on the landmark study of transgender discrimination in the US, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) for the last two years. GTRAP has shared the grassroots research methods and findings of NTDS with activists from all over the world, including trans people in Cuba, Honduras, Georgia, Armenia, China, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, and Uganda. Many new projects are growing out of these vibrant exchanges.
In every setting, the issue of employment and the wholesale exclusion of transgender people from legal workplaces and formal, legitimate economies is a front and center human rights issue. In the US Survey, respondents lived the harsh realities of workforce rejection, facing near-universal harassment in ‘legitimate’ workplaces, widespread job termination solely based on their gender identity, and consequentially high levels of participation in underground or ‘informal’ economies such as busking, drug sales and sex work. (more…)