While in various states of the country at this time more than 490 have appeared local and state laws that are classified as hostile for him LGBTQ+ communityon the contrary in NY In the last 24 months, various protections have been reinforced through laws and agreements for a community that continues to raise its flags against discrimination, especially in workplaces.
But in reality, particularly in Hispanic-majority neighborhoods and spaces in the Big Apple, in many cases it is starting “from scratch” on the path so that some Latin American communitiesas soon as they begin to articulate respect and non-discrimination to specific members of this group.
The road to travel seems long more complicated and full of obstacles for the transgender and non-binary peoplewho also continue to walk through territories with few quality job opportunities.
“In the rest of the country, a speech and new laws that are a real setback are sadly advancing at this moment. But here in New York, despite the regulatory frameworks, culturally there is a lot to advance with the latino families. One feels an absolute rejection of issues such as inclusive language. Follow the mockery Follow the harassment of our collective at work”, concludes Haze Hernandeza Salvadoran who perceives himself as non-binary trans masculine.
Haze knows what she’s talking about. He emigrated twelve years ago from Central America when he was just a child and is currently involved with outreach work in Hispanic-majority towns, from the Oasis Community Pride Center, which provides services that promote the health of Latino communities.
“I see all this as an opportunity to educate, about what trans people really are. we have always existed. What happens is that now we are more visible through social networks. It is very complicated, sometimes almost impossible, that a trans person here in New York finds it easy to get a good job, with health insurance. Our personal challenge is to continue connecting and educating”, he assured.
NY continue to legislate in favor, but…
He city Council of New York City and the state assembly have taken great protective steps to put a “umbrella” against discrimination against trans and non-binary groups. And more recently, investments have been announced to open up more employment opportunities in union jobs.
Until now, although it is valued that battles continue to be won in the legal and institutional field, in practice, the cycle of discrimination is far from stopping.
In the popular imagination, there are still stigmas to overcome. The trans collective has been wrongly labeled as individuals who by definition they suffer from emotional imbalances, which are only in the ability to perform certain types of work. And, but still, that they are called to practice prostitution almost naturally.
To put this situation further in context, if the cisgender female population is still fighting for equal pay for men and against forms of harassment in workplaces, the trans community, it’s just showing up in some public discussions.
This is confirmed, Wendel Oviedo a Venezuelan activist who defends the rights of the LGBTQ collectivewho is a founding member of the organization Diverse America: “Any balance in labor matters of our trans, Hispanic, immigrant and even more recently arrived community must always be seen from the perspective of how machismo continues to be part of the culture of some neighborhoods in queensHispanic majority. To cite just one example”.
In this sense, Wendel who defines himself as non-binaryconsiders that only large corporations and institutions respect New York values and public policies on non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity in the workplace.
Based on new data from the National Household Pulse Survey (HPS)which examines the economic security and labor market experiences of LGBTQIA+ communities, transgender respondents experienced employment rates very low If contrasted with other groups within the sex diversity.
In 2022, the ‘trans’ community reported, at the crossroads of several surveys, having had to be forced to apply much more proportionally to unemployment insurancewhen compared to other groups.
When mockery is normal
When you look at small businesses, which are potentially the largest “employers” for people who they have language barriers and immigration legalizationthen there is a double wall, almost impossible for people of sexual diversity to cross.
“First, It is very difficult to get a job when they barely perceive you differently. Second, the type of immigrant start-up work, such as cleaning or restaurants, is still dominated by environments of much mockery and vexationdespite the fact that there are laws that protect us,” he said.
The young activist tells that in many cases, trans women in their need to survive, must undergo a kind of mutation, to be able to work in places where “by definition” being honest with your sexual condition is a ticket to being the center of verbal attacks.
That is, to access well-paid jobs, they must temporarily vary their gender expression. Which means changing the look you are comfortable with, to bet on permanence in a job.
“If a trans woman works in a kitchen that is generally dominated by Hispanics, she is unlikely to not have a history of overtly discriminatory comments. And since we generally come fleeing from countries where this is normal, many think that here they have no rights. And that is what we must reinforce: That there are legal frameworks here that protect us!”, asserted the Venezuelan.
According to reports from Center for American Progress, “for decades, compared to the general population, LGBTQI+ people have faced at increased risk of experiencing financial insecuritiessuch as higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and use of public benefits.”
Even before the pandemic, several statistical evidences reveal that the LGBTQ households made up of people of colorwere more likely than other families to experience food insecurity, job loss, significant financial challenges, and barriers to accessing health.
At this moment, as Wendell points out, in none of these statistics, there are not even approximations of the avalanche of LGBTQ immigrants, recent arrivals, who, because they do not have papers, do not have access to certain social programs either. Therefore, survival ends up being a much heavier cross to bear.
In NYC there are protections
According to the codes of the New York City Commission on Human Rights LGBTQ people They should be treated equally in the workplace. It is illegal, treatment rooted in stereotypes about masculinity and femininity.
For example, employees cannot be told that they must dress “like a woman” or that their behavior “It’s not masculine enough.”
It is also illegal to mandate dress codes, uniform requirements, or grooming standards that impose differences according to sex.
In the case of transgender and gender non-conforming people, they do not have to show “proof” of their gender to exercise their right to be addressed with the name and pronoun of your preference or your right to use the bathroom, changing room and other facilities divided by sexthat most closely correspond to your gender identity or expression.
The Big Apple Bill of Human Rights also clarifies that when providing benefits to its employees, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you based on your sex or sexual orientation.
In addition, employers that offer health benefits to the spouses of their employees must offer benefits to same-sex spouses. As well as benefits that cover medical care related to gender transition.
“They just don’t hire you“
But even knowing your rights very well, the Uruguayan transgender woman Michelle Ugas, A Jackson Heights resident, shares that for the past 10 years she has tried to find a job for which she feels qualified. So far, it has not been successful.
“When the average employer sees your stamp. And he just presumes that you are trans, he makes excuses. They just don’t hire you. The laws say one thing, that they are very beautiful. But, how to combat the backwardness of the mentality of the people. Let us still be clear to many, including our own relatives, we are a strange thing. And I, a 60-year-old woman, doubt that I will witness a change in mentality”narrowed.
In the Big Apple, the cradle of civil rights for the LGBTQ community and with a long history of inclusion actions to break these histories of employment discrimination, last October the Council announced budget support for the ‘Pride at Work’ initiativeas a lever so that more people of the gay, lesbian and trans community access to unionized quality jobs.
This is the first association of its kind that is financed with public funds in all the country.
Under the leadership of the Councilor Crystal Hudsona member of the LGBTQIA+ Caucus of the Municipal Chamber, it was agreed to include $501,000 in the City’s budget for fiscal year 2023to lay the foundations of this project.
In this sense, ‘Pride at Work‘ Provide funds to non-profit organizations and City agencies to recruit non-profits and prepare them for jobs such as construction, services and educational certifications.
Along with small initiatives, union organizations, trade and business associations have been lining up to sensitize the local business community about the need to break stereotypes with trans and non-binary people.
“There are a whole series of local and state laws that recognize us. But I insist, the big underlying problem is the machismo rooted in our Latino communities. And those cultural barriers will always be the most difficult to break down.“, concludes Wendel Oviedo, spokesperson for América Diversa.
Queens celebrates diversity this Sunday
- The Gay Pride Parade and Queens Multicultural Festival it is the second oldest and second largest in NYC.
- Since 1993, it has been held annually on the first Sunday of June, on Avenida 37 de Jackson Heights.
- This Sunday June 4 will be held from 12 pm to 6:00 pm the 31st edition celebrating diversity in this county.
- The route goes from 89th Street to 75th Street. This year’s festival features artists Julian King, Lolita Leopard and Masterz at Work Dance.
- Clarifying terms:
- Transgender: Describes people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. It is important to note that being transgender does not depend on physical appearance or medical procedures. A person can call themselves transgender the moment they realize that their gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Nonbinary Person: Defines people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression outside of the binary categories of “male” and “female.” Many non-binary people also call themselves transgender and consider themselves part of the transgender community.
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