The purpose of this report is to summarize key research results from the Trans PULSE Project that may be useful in discussions, debates or policy creation related to transgender human rights in multiple jurisdictions. As Trans PULSE results have been used by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and are heavily cited in the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s 2014 policy on gender identity and discrimination, we sought to create a summary of research findings that have been of greatest interest with regard to human rights issues. Read more
Posts tagged as Human Rights
The ability to leave the house and access public or shared spaces such as public transit, washrooms, restaurants, and schools is taken for granted by many non-trans people. However, trans people experience much prejudice, discrimination, and violence related to being trans. The fear of such harassment or violence is also bad for our health, and may result in avoiding public spaces. We found that two-thirds of trans Ontarians had avoided a public space or situation because of a fear of harassment, being “read” (perceived as trans), or outed. About half had avoided three or more spaces or situations. Washrooms were the most commonly avoided space (57% had ever avoided a public washroom). Read more
Trans Ontarians experience high rates of unemployment, workplace discrimination, and poverty which can make them more vulnerable to incarceration. Approximately one-quarter of trans people in Ontario report being harassed by police because they are trans, while about a quarter of racialized, and a third of Aboriginal, trans people report police harassment because of their race or ethnicity. The limited research conducted on the prison experiences of trans people in Canada suggests that trans people who live in poverty, who are sex workers, and who use drugs frequently report police harassment, and may constitute the majority of trans people who are arrested and imprisoned. We also know that Aboriginal and Black people are over-represented in Canadian prisons.
Transphobia has been described as an “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against people whose gendered identities, appearances, or behaviours deviate from societal norms”. This includes transgender, transsexual, transitioned, transgender, and gender-queer people, as well as some two-spirit people. Transphobia exists within a context of cisnormativity, the expectation that all people are- and should be- cisgender, or non-trans. Transphobia includes acts of exclusion, discrimination, and violence, as well as attitudes that trans people may themselves internalize. Here we present information about the types and levels of transphobia experienced by trans people in Ontario.
We know that like transphobia, racism and ethnicity-related discrimination are bad for our health. The concept of minority stress can help us to understand how experiences of racism and ethnicity-related discrimination, in addition to transphobia and other forms of social oppression, can lead to negative physical and mental health outcomes. We understand racism to include both structural inequalities based on socially-constructed racial categories, and exposure to specific discriminatory events, though we will focus on the latter here. To date, research has not described experiences of racism and ethnicity-related discrimination among trans people in Ontario or Canada. Therefore, we sought to describe these experiences and their overall burden among non-Aboriginal white, non-Aboriginal racialized, and Aboriginal trans Ontarians.
The Trans PULSE project has produced a new report focused on social gender transition and the status of sex designations on goverment-issued identity documents for trans Ontarians.
The objective of this report is to provide requested information on social gender transition and the status of sex designations on government-issued identity documents for trans (transgender, transsexual and transitioned) people, using data from the Trans PULSE Project.
An estimated 48.0% of trans people who had socially transitioned to live full-time as men or women had no government-issued identification that reflected their lived gender. While a full discussion of the implications is beyond the scope of this report, this does represent a special situation in that the complete absence of identification matching one’s lived gender creates barriers to everyday activities of life.
A key to good health and quality of life is being fully included as a valued member of society, having access to a safe employment setting free of harassment and which provides meaning on a daily basis, and being able to rely on a secure income from one’s employment. There is a considerable negative impact when these social determinants of health are absent, compromised, or threatened. Recent results from the U.S. have documented high levels of discrimination and harassment in employment settings, but until now similar data have not been available in a Canadian context. While some non-explicit employment protections are in place for trans people in Canadian law, employment discrimination still exists. Trans PULSE findings showed that while 71% of trans people have at least some college or university education, about half make $15,000 per year or less. In light of this we sought to better understand the unique barriers to employment faced by trans Ontarians, and the discrimination they experience in the workplace.
For people who are transgender, transsexual, or transitioned (trans), access to primary, emergency, and transition-related health care is often problematic. Results from Phase I of the Trans PULSE Project, a community-based research project in Ontario, Canada, are presented. Based on qualitative data from focus groups with 85 trans community members, a theoretical framework describing how erasure functions to impact experiences interacting with the health care system was developed. Two key sites of erasure were identified: informational erasure and institutional erasure. How these processes work in a mutually reinforcing manner to erase trans individuals and communities and produce a system in which a trans patient or client is seen as an anomaly is shown. Thus, the impetus often falls on trans individuals to attempt to remedy systematic deficiencies. The concept of cisnormativity is introduced to aid in explaining the pervasiveness of trans erasure. Strategies for change are identified.