These past few years, the transgender community (the oft-overlooked T in LGBTQ) has been getting more and more attention in the spotlight as individuals like Laverne Cox of Orange Is The New Black fame and formerly Bruce Jenner of Olympic medal-winning fame turned Kardashian superstar who transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner earlier this year.
But that is the “glamorous” side of this community.
Kim Watson, a Bronx woman and “unrelenting advocate of the LGBT community in The Bronx,” can stay right here in her home with her family in our borough after being threatened with deportation back to her native Barbados where she feared going back.
“During the past three years, she had been fighting her removal from the United States — and from her husband and daughter.
While tourists view the Caribbean island nation as a breathtaking paradise, Watson saw her homeland, with its anti-gay laws, as perdition for members of the LGBT community and people suffering from HIV.
She and her lawyer had argued that if she were deported, she would have likely faced torture or worse.
“I feel like if America had sent me back, they were signing off on a death sentence,” she said last week.
On that day in court three weeks ago, Watson’s case was finally supposed to go to trial. She had experts on Barbados and other witnesses ready to testify on her behalf.
Just before the trial started in the Manhattan court, the Homeland Security lawyer said he would not challenge Nazrali’s request for a deferral of removal, a rarely granted protective status that allows an undocumented immigrant to remain and work in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Justice set up regulations in 1999 that protected undocumented immigrants from torture and inhumane treatment in their home countries.”
What’s often overlooked, not talked about, or seen are the daily struggles the trans community faces often dealing with violence and discrimination at such levels that it can become unbearable to the point that the community experiences a suicide attempt rate of 41%.
This is far above the national average of 4.6% and double the gay, lesbian, and bisexual attempt rate at roughly 20%.
For transgender individuals of color the number is increased dramatically from 38% for white transgender individuals to 44% and 45% for Latinos and Blacks (respectively) and for mixed and Native Americans it sky rockets to 54% and 56%.
Let’s not forget all the struggles this segment of the population faces. It’s not just about the glitter and glam we see on TV.