Published on December 6th, 2011 | by Wild Gender0
Latino trans folk hit hardest by anti-immigration sentiment
“This report is a critical call to action,” said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) that named Latino and Latina transgender and gender non-conforming people at the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people.
“The numbers make clear the way that racism, anti-immigrant and anti-transgender bias all work together, often with devastating results in the lives of Latino and Latina transgender people,” Carey continued. “We must ensure that we work toward an LGBT movement that prioritizes immigration, racial and economic justice.”
This report comes off the heels of the release of the fifth edition of the New American Heritage Dictionary, which stirred controversy with the induction of the pejorative term “anchor baby” into it’s annals. According to a report released today by Colorlines, ”the dictionary offers a matter-of-fact definition for a term many consider to be a racist and deliberate effort to dehumanize immigrant children.”
Here’s how the dictionary’s new edition defines “anchor baby:”
“Anchor Baby, n. A child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, especially such a child born to parents seeking to secure eventual citizenship for themselves and often other members of their family.”
This amended dictionary definition has anchored a climate of discrimination towards people seeking citizenship in the United States, clearly.
And the findings of the NTDS reveal a similar sentiment. Our national hostility towards immigrants of color has seeped deeply into the lives of gender-non-conforming Latinos and Latinas. Even given the unconscionable levels of discrimination against all transgender people in the U.S., people of color including Latinos/as experienced heightened levels of discrimination and had worse outcomes than the sample overall. Additionally, the findings reveal that immigration status also plays a role in these outcomes with non-citizen Latino/a respondents often reporting even worse experiences.
“This study shows how devastating multiple discrimination is for Latino and Latina transgender people,” says Brent Wilkes, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Executive Director. “We are committed to ensuring that all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation and gender identity are respected and treated fairly. We call upon other Latino groups to join us as we fight for the right of transgender people to live without fear of discrimination, harassment or violence. We will not stand idly by in a society where equality is not within everyone’s reach.”
Among the key findings from the report:
- Latino/a transgender people had a very high unemployment rate at 20 percent, higher than the overall transgender sample (14 percent) and nearly three times the rate of the general population at the time the survey was fielded (7 percent).
- Latino/a transgender people often live in extreme poverty with 28 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This is nearly double the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), over five times the general Latino/a population rate (5 percent), and seven times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent). The rate for Latino/a non-citizen respondents was 43 percent.
- Latino/a transgender people were affected by HIV in devastating numbers. One in 12 Latino/a respondents was HIV-positive and an additional 10 percent reported that they did not know their status.
- Forty-seven percent of Latino/a respondents reported having attempted suicide.