A New Report Pulls Back the Curtain on Changing Room Bias

Trans discrimination not limited to bathrooms

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“African American transgender testers faced higher rates of verbal harassment and other forms of negative interactions than their white peers in both jurisdictions with and without nondiscrimination protections,” said Alexis Squire, Acting Senior Manager of External Affairs at the ERC. And according to the research, that experience was worst in the District of Columbia.

The report supports this finding with statistical data:

“The African American tester faced significantly higher rates of negative interaction at a rate of 50% of all tests compared to 30% of all tests completed by the white transgender tester. These findings support prior research that illustrates the increased discrimination people of color face due to the coupling of transphobic bias with systemic racism.”

Another finding was the difference in how testers were treated based on where they shopped.  In 50% of the tests conducted in Virginia, which does not have any laws providing nondiscrimination protections to transgender people, the trans tester experienced some form of negative interaction with an employee, security, or a customer. But the trans testers in Maryland and D.C. experienced a lower rate, 31% of negative interactions while shopping in those areas, which have enacted discrimination protections.

According to the ERC, only 18 states along with D.C. have gender identity protections in public accommodation settings right now. The goal of the organization is to use research such as this to increase acceptance and press for more laws to protect against discrimination. “From our findings, we hope to continue researching and advocating new methods that can make public accommodation spaces more safe,”said Melvina C. Ford, Executive Director of the ERC,  “and equitable for all.”

Read the full report by clicking here.

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