National leader to share results of latest U.S. transgender survey
Forty-four percent out of 84 transgender Alaskans surveyed in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey report having one negative experience when visiting a health care provider due to their identity.
The survey breaking down Alaska's numbers, just released this month, outline experiences of nearly 28,000 transgender people nationwide. Eighty-four are from Alaska and Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality will discuss the statistics during a speech at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium Tuesday evening.
"I want to let folks know how important it is that the transgender people here are safe," Keisling said. "That they do not feel threatened or under attack."
Andrea Zekis with Fair Anchorage says the numbers are all connected.
"People do face discrimination and difficulties in life in many different circumstances -- whether at work, in housing, in healthcare or in school," Zekis said.
For example, out of the 84 Alaskans, 14 percent of the respondents who have ever been employed reported losing a job in their lifetime because of their gender identity or expression. Ten percent of respondents who had a job in the past year reported being verbally harassed at work because of their gender identity or expression. Thirty-two percent of respondents say they've experienced some form of housing discrimination in the past year, such as being evicted from their home or denied a home or apartment because of being transgender.
"If they can't have employment, then they don't really have a place to live and it's going to hurt them in that regard," Zekis said. "If they don't have a place to live, it's really tough for them to get a job."
The conversation isn't only taking place locally, but it's also happening nationally. According to CBS News, the Pentagon is expected to renew a ban on transgender people joining the military.
Zekis hopes the numbers and the speech on Tuesday night can send a message about the transgender community.
"It shows a world that people in Anchorage don't want to go back to," Zekis said. "We want to be able to improve those numbers and move forward with those numbers."
The speech will take place from 7 to 9 p.m.