June 21, 2018

The experience of trans people in the US labor market

The experience of trans people in the US labor market

Transgender people experience severe disadvantage from discriminatory workplace biases and practices, finds research by Stanford University.

The research looks in detail into the labor market experiences of twenty-five transgender people in the US, finding that discrimination occurs at all stages of the employment process. The majority of participants find that the pitch of their voice, the length of their hair and their choice of clothing, all affect how their colleagues interact with them.

The research finds that trans employees often face having to choose between hiding their trans identity in order to avoid workplace discrimination, to the detriment of their mental and emotional health, or being open about their trans identity and experiencing discrimination. “Acceptance of one’s gender identity and congruence between one’s gender identity and outward appearance are associated with less adverse mental health symptoms, and greater life and job satisfaction,” writes IZA author Nick Drydakis.

The authors of the research believe that discriminatory practices towards transgender people contribute to the high level of unemployment among trans people, which was three times higher than the overall US unemployment rate in December 2016. Indeed, Drydakis says that “trans people are subject to human rights violations, hate crimes, and experience higher unemployment and poverty than the general population,” in his article, Trans people, well-being, and labor market outcomes.

Recommendations proposed by the research for improving the labor market experience of transgender people include partnering with external organizations to increase inclusivity in hiring practices and adopting gender-inclusive behavior and language. Drydakis argues that “explicit legal employment protections against discrimination on the grounds of gender identity should become mandatory.”

Read more articles on workplace discrimination.

For specific expertise on trans people, well-being and labor market outcomes, contact Nick Drydakis directly.