- July 26, 2015
Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
“I Am Cait,” the E! network’s documentary series on Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner premieres this Sunday, July 26, and promises to give unprecedented visibility to the transgender community.
A recent survey commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) showed a significant increase of Americans who say they personally know a transgender person –– 22 percent up from 17 percent who said they did in a similar poll last year. Moreover, 66 percent of those who said they know a transgender person expressed favorable feelings toward them.
“Simply put, the more people know us, the more they support us. The ways in which celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox and others before them are bringing transgender narratives to the public can help build greater understanding and nurture a climate where being visible is less daunting,” said HRC’s Jay Brown, Director of Research and Public Education.
Brown emphasized, “At the same time, it’s important to highlight the ways in which Jenner is set apart from the larger transgender community, where the road to living an authentic life is filled with costly, often insurmountable obstacles and where visibility comes with real risk. Many transgender people, especially transgender women of color, still face enormous difficulties and disparities in income, health and safety. We’ve seen incredible progress in the last several years but there is so much more work to do.”
As Brown told NBCnews.com, this is a problem rooted in racism and sexism.
“Even as the transgender community experiences historic visibility and increasingly inclusive protections, the reality is that violence and brutality are a part of far too many transgender people's daily lives -- especially transgender women of color. As we mourn the death of India Clarke, we must also work to address the realities that conspire to put transgender people at risk -- including high rates of unemployment, lack of healthcare and housing instability”
More information about the lives of transgender people in the U.S., including the challenges they continue to face, can be found at hrc.org/transgender.