Transgender workers at an intersection of exploitation

(Movement Advancement Project. “Equality Maps: Employment Nondiscrimination Laws.”)

By Leonard Zorfass, Red Phoenix correspondent, New Jersey.

Transgender workers face significant challenges in the workplace, and one of the most pressing issues is the wage gap. Despite equal qualifications, experience, and productivity, transgender workers are paid less than their cisgender counterparts. This wage gap is a clear and measurable example of the exploitation of transgender workers under capitalism, creating a material basis for social chauvinism. 

According to a report by the National Center for Transgender Equality, nearly one in five transgender individuals have experienced workplace discrimination, including being denied a job or promotion, being harassed or bullied, and being paid less than their cisgender peers. This discrimination leads to significant economic insecurity for transgender workers, who are more likely to live in poverty and experience homelessness than cisgender individuals due to reactionary social organization and practice inherent to the capitalist system. 

The wage gap for transgender workers is particularly pronounced for trans women of color. A study by the Movement Advancement Project found that transgender women of color earn just 32 cents for every dollar earned by white cisgender men. This disparity is the result of multiple forms of discrimination and chauvinism, including racism, transphobia, and sexism. 

(Movement Advancement Project and Center for American Progress. February 2015. Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America.)

The wage gap for transgender workers can also be attributed to the way in which capitalism exploits marginalized groups for profit. Capitalism is built on the exploitation of labor, and transgender workers are seen as a source of cheap labor. This is because transgender individuals face significant barriers to employment, such as discrimination, harassment, and lack of access to education and healthcare. As a result, they are often forced to accept low-paying jobs with few benefits and little job security.

Furthermore, capitalism reinforces gender norms and stereotypes, which contribute to the discrimination and marginalization of transgender individuals. The gender binary is a product of bourgeois ideology, originating with the material organization of private property, which seeks to divide and control the working class by creating false divisions based on gender, race, and nationality. By perpetuating the idea that there are only two genders, bourgeois ideology perpetuates the marginalization and oppression of transgender individuals. 

To address the wage gap for transgender workers, it is necessary to challenge the underlying political-economic system that perpetuates discrimination and exploitation. This requires a radical reorganization of our economy and society, to one that is based on the principles of equality, justice, and solidarity. This means creating a society in which everyone has access to quality education, healthcare, and housing, regardless of their gender identity or expression.

It also means recognizing the intersectionality of oppression and the ways in which capitalism reinforces multiple forms of discrimination. This requires building solidarity across different movements and struggles, including the labor movement, the feminist movement, and the LGBTQ+ movement into a modern revolutionary Communist movement. 

The wage gap for transgender workers is a clear example of the exploitation of marginalized groups under capitalism. As class conscious workers we must challenge the underlying economic system that perpetuates discrimination and marginalization. This requires building a movement for social and economic justice that recognizes the intersectionality of oppression and works towards a more just and equitable society for all.

Categories: Discrimination, LGBTQIA+, U.S. News

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