New program helping transgender community thrive in Palm Beach County

Pandemic intensifies impact on the transgender community, study reveals
Transgender Day of Visibility
Posted at 2:21 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 17:13:48-04

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — The Compass Center in Lake Worth Beach and Jewish Women's Foundation have collaborated to create the Transgender Economic Empowerment Program.

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The program provides career assistance, resume building, interview skills assessments and new clothes.

"I think it's important to include trans women because any form of gender discrimination is wrong and that’s something we want to eradicate," said Jennifer Kryshka, CEO of the Jewish Women's Foundation.

Jennifer Kryshka, CEO of the Jewish Women's Foundation
Jennifer Kryshka says the program offers career assistance and guidance.

The foundation is helping fund the program, offering guidance to the transgender community.

"We recognized that trans women are disproportionately affected by violence, by economic issues. They just really wanted to do something to help out," Kryshka said.

Wednesday is Transgender Day of Visibility, a day that recognizes the strength and courage required for members of the trans community to prosper amid cultural, legal and economic challenges.

Michael Riordan with the Compass Center said often times transgender people face more challenges in the workplace.

"People don't realize or understand when trans people come out they face higher levels of discrimination. They’re fired from jobs or laid off from jobs," Riordan said.

The pandemic has had a devastating economic impact on the transgender community.

Transgender employment stats
A study by the Human Rights Campaign uncovered how the pandemic impacted the employment of transgender people.

Recent data from the Human Rights Campaign shows more than half of transgender and transgender people of color lost work hours during the pandemic, while one in five people became unemployed.

It also shows that transgender and transgender people of color are also more likely to have taken unpaid leave or a pay cut.

"When trans people come out, and they’re earning potential plummets, their health insurance goes away. They're a very bad spot, so we know that one of the best things that we can do to help trans people live full lives is to help them gain employment," Riordan said.