Anti-trans workplace discrimination is no laughing matter

As a working mom who’s spent decades building a career that I love, I’m all too familiar with the wage disparities that burden women in the workplace. It’s an issue I take personally, and one that demands greater attention.

But as an ally to the transgender community, I also see why a video released by the National Women’s Law Center missed the mark in addressing the topic.

I certainly get the video’s humor, and I think we can all agree it’s well intended. But for transgender people and allies like me, it's difficult to watch without thinking about the dire employment situation trans people face in the workplace. For example:

  • Transgender people are four times more likely to live in poverty than non-trans people
  • The unemployment rate for transgender people is double the rate for the general population, and four times the rate for transgender people of color
  • 47% of transgender people report they were either fired, not advanced, or not hired due to their gender identity
  • Studies suggest the earnings of transgender women workers fall by nearly 1/3 following transition 
  • You can be fired in 32 states for simply being transgender

So, by all means, let's close the wage gap and ensure that all workers are paid equally for equal work. And at the same time, let's acknowledge that for transgender people, the workplace is usually a very hostile environment. And that’s not really funny at all.


The National Center for Transgender Equality and the Transgender Law Center are two organizations working hard to end anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace. If you care about closing the wage gap (and unemployment and poverty gap) between transgender people and non-transgender people, you might consider making a donation to them here or here