Transgender Day of Remembrance Blog – Transwork: Economic Development in the Transgender Community

Transgender people successfully work in a variety of professions, including serving in our military (photo: KOTA News)

Please do check out several additional useful links at the bottom of this blog!

Each year on or near November 20th, many communities hold their Transgender Day or Remembrance (link to information from GLAAD), or TDOR, as it is often called, an annual memorial ceremony held for transgender people who have lost their lives to violence in the prior year. But certainly, any kind of remembrance should also spur people to take action to assist those who are living. There are still a high proportion of transgender people dealing with severe economic hardship.

In Philadephia, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce affiliate chapter, the Independence Business Alliance, is kicking off “Transwork,” an innovative solution to address this issue.


THE ISSUE: 29% of transgender people are living in poverty compared to 14% of the general US population, and the trans unemployment of 15% is 3 times the national average. 30% of trans people have been fired, denied a promotion, or harassed in the workplace due to their gender identity. Transgender people, traditionally under-employed and after several bad experiences, start to distrust programs and institutions. And in going into interviews, criminal records, former incarceration, and conflicting names and gender markers on identity documents further complicates gaining employment.


AN INNOVATIVE SOLUTION: The Transwork program actually has three components:

1. Assisting trans and non-binary folks to prepare for the job market through a job board, job fairs, supportive vocational services, resume / interviewing coaching and a resume bank.

2. Training employers and workforce development providers to provide safe, effective and culturally competent environments.

3. Promoting trans entrepreneurship as another viable alternative to working for an organization.

Transgender woman Martine Rothblatt, CEO of United Therapies and former CEO of SiriusXM, is the highest paid CEO in the country. But she is a rare exception to the rule of the underemployment of skillful transgender people. (photo by Andre Chung)

And what is really fantastic is that the Philadelphia team wants to share this program with everyone. They are currently packaging the methodology to share with other National LGBT Chamber local affiliates so they can launch a similar program themselves!


CURRENT STATUS: The website has now launched; check out https://transwork.org/ for a lot more details. They are developing a first-phase resume bank, working on recruiting and training employers, and plan to conduct a pilot employment program in the coming year. They have just launched the entrepreneurship part of the program, including workshops about trans business ownership, assistance with NGLCC business certification, and mentorship. They will be preparing a toolkit for other locations around the country to implement similar programs. You can contact the Transwork team through their website.

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Other related blogs and an organizational self assessment: Please check out these additional related blogs and tools below:

The Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer’s 12 question organizational transgender readiness self-assessment

Affinity Magazine article, “Seven Steps to Supporting Transgender Employees in the Workplace”

My editorial blog, “Yet One More Way to Oppress Transgender Americans.”

2016 Transgender Day of Remembrance – Guest Blog by transgender business leader and consultant Elaine Martin

November is “Movember” – Five Issues Men Face. Monthly Guest Blog from Brandon Garrick

Here is this month’s guest blog from my young cousin and Social Work graduate student Brandon Garrick. Brandon does often write about underserved communities, but we also need to remember that even though collectively men have the majority of power and standing in our culture, they also do face critical issues.

Thanks to Brandon, this is my first time hearing about “Movember,” an annual event involving the growing of mustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. “Mo” is an Australian – English diminutive word for moustache (UK spelling), making Movember a clever joining of “Mo” to the month of November. The history of this movement and the associated foundation is quite fascinating. Link to extensive wikipedia article about Movember.

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As a social work graduate student, I care about all forms of social injustice and oppression that any individual may face. In today’s society, we often forget that regardless of identity, we can all face challenges in our lives. We get easily fall into this ideology that men, as the privileged beings in today’s society, don’t face issues as women do. However, there are indeed certain issues that dramatically impact men.

November is a month that you can highlight the areas where men are struggling. Movember is a friendly occurrence where men will grow a mustache unshaven throughout the month. I will be participating this year and will grow out a mustache. You can email me ([email protected]) if you want see what the final result looks like. Anyway, here are five issues where men are really struggling in today’s society:

1. Men are more likely to be killed at work. This is a issue that can be the result of different career choices. However, it must be noted that a safer workplace environment for both genders is essential.

2. Men are more prone to heart disease.

3. Men have a higher chance to be attacked or killed then women. Men make up almost 70 percent of murder victims.

4. According to a recent study (link) from a professor at the University of Michigan, men on average receive a 63 percent longer prison sentence then women for identical crimes.

5. Men commit suicide more often, at a staggering rate of 3.53 times that of women.

As a society, we do have to realize that all of us can face different critical issues and we should all be supportive of each other and search for solutions to all problems impacting any of us.

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Guest blogger Brandon Garrick is a Masters of Social Work Candidate at NC State University

Brandon Garrick is my second cousin who I enjoy spending a lot if time with. He recently completed his Bachelor of Sociology at North Carolina State University, and has now entered their Master’s Program of Social Work. He worked full time at North Carolina’s Central Prison as a corrections officer while completing his bachelor’s degree, and has a deep concern about the many social issues facing our nation and the world. He will now be a regular guest blogger discussing these various issues.