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Transgender Need Not Apply

A Report on Gender Identity Job Discrimination




Executive Summary

Make the Road New York investigated possible employment discrimination against transgender job-seekers in Manhattan’s retail sector using the research tool of matched pair testing. We sent out carefully matched pairs of job applicants, one transgender and one not, to apply for the same jobs. Each pair was equivalent in age and ethnicity and equipped with fictionalized resumes that were evenly matched. Both testing pairs underwent extensive training on how to adopt similar interview styles and how to document their job-seeking interactions objectively. Transgender testers were instructed to explicitly inform store managers and interviewers of their transgender status whenever feasible. 

Our research revealed an astonishingly high degree of employment discrimination against our transgender job applicants:

  • We found a 42% net rate of discrimination against transgender job seekers. In eleven out of the 24 employers tested, the transgender job applicant received no offer, but the control group tester did. Only in one instance did a transgender tester receive a job offer in our first round.
In 2009, we also conducted 82 surveys with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals about their experiences in the job market, not limited to the retail sector. These surveys corroborated the pattern of discrimination documented by the matched pair testing.
  • Of the 82 workers surveyed, 59% percent of transgender workers reported experiencing job discrimination.
  • 49% had never been offered a job living openly as a transgender person.
Although New York City Human Rights Law explicitly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity, discriminatory practices are still widespread. There is a clear need for employers to adopt proactive policies and practices addressing discrimination and for government agencies to improve enforcement and education efforts.



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Latin American Integration Center and Make the Road by Walking celebrated the announcement of their merger at SEIU 32BJ's Auditorium on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 to a packed audience. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, joined us to celebrate the event.