Around the holidays, it is always a good time to reflect on how fortunate we are to have our health, families, and basic necessities. Many times to show our appreciation and holiday spirit, we participate in food or toys drives and some of us donate time to soup kitchens in order to feed the homeless. Being homeless is hard enough as a heterosexual person living on the streets, but how about a trans individual who is trying to survive? Gaelick.com reports that very few shelters are safe places for America’s trans population and that many of them have nowhere to go. It reports that 19% of trans people have been homeless at one point and that a staggering 42% are only allowed to stay in shelters if they “live with people of their born gender.” In other words, shelters do not want to recognize the legitimacy of a trans person’s wishes and to regard them in the gender that they self identify with.
The magazine reports that there could be several factors in why 19% of all trans people have been homeless at one point in their lives. A huge factor is family support. Much like “coming out” as a homosexual, coming out to parents and family as a transgendered person is a very hard and often painful thing to do. Many families reject their son/daughter, granddaughter/grandson, etc after this announcement is made. Thus, trans people could be teens when they tell their parents and when they are kicked out for being “embarrassments” to their families, they often have nowhere to go but the streets. Thus, it is sad that homeless shelters feel the need to discriminate against trans people when all homeless need help, a place to sleep, and some food. Another factor can be the workplace. This could be especially hard if a person has worked in a place as one gender and then decides he or she cannot live without expressing their true nature/gender anymore. It can also be hard if someone at work ousts them as a trans person when they felt that they were adjusting well to their rightful gender. There is much discrimination against trans people in the workplace and the inability to get a job or the frustration at not being treated fairly, can cause a trans person to either be fired, never hired, or give up completely. Thus, the only option without money is to try and survive on the streets.
In conclusion the lack of care and concern over trans people in yet another situation is disheartening. No one who needs help should be discriminated against and it should be up to us to take a stand against this.