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Transgender People Need State Protection Under Law, Say LGBT Groups

Kalamazoo's Dyrk Hamilton shares his experience being discriminated against as a transgender man at OutFront Kalamazoo, formerly known as the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center
Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

LGBT rights organizations are calling for state lawmakers to include protections for transgender people in civil rights laws. 

Equality Michigan and OutFront Kalamazoo shared the Michigan results from 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey on Wednesday. The report, by the National Center for Transgender Equality, claims to be the largest survey of trans people ever conducted in the U.S.

Kalamazoo City Commissioner Erin Knott works as a field manager for Equality Michigan: 

“This survey confirms as we’ve heard that transgender people face injustice in every walk of life - in school systems, in housing, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, in the law enforcement arena, as well as in the criminal justice system in totality,” says Knott.

Dyrk Hamilton is a transgender man who volunteers with OutFront Kalamazoo. He says he has not experienced all of the issues presented in the report, but many of them. Hamilton says many states are discussing bills to outlaw transgender people in public bathrooms.

“We don’t make our policies based on unfounded fear," says Hamilton. "We make our policies based on tangible evidence and that’s what this survey is trying to show.”

In the transgender survey, Michigan mostly followed national trends. But the report showed that more trans people in Michigan experienced homelessness due to their gender.

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