Today, the Seattle Office of Economic Development announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to support economic development within the transgender community with Ingersoll Gender Center. The partnership will provide Ingersoll with $100,000 in new funding to provide job coaching, training, gender affirming clothes and other support for transgender and gender non-conforming workers in Seattle.
“We are proud to partner with Ingersoll Gender Center, who have been doing incredible work in the transgender community for decades,” said Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Office of Economic Development. “With this new support from the City, Ingersoll will be able to meaningfully expand their vital services and further our shared goal of achieving equity throughout our diverse workforce.”
“Trans and gender non-conforming communities have been navigating barriers to employment like ID documents, discrimination, institutional violence, and harassment for decades,” said Ingersoll’s Economic Justice Coordinator Grayson Crane. “It is exciting to offer resources that allow trans and gender non-conforming people to build our own lives on our own terms which, in this case, includes seeking and obtaining work within their values. Ingersoll envisions a world in which trans and gender non-conforming people are able to build and determine the course of their own lives—this partnership leverages important resources from the city to continue and advance the care work that our communities have created and held.”
Transgender and gender non-conforming community members face barriers in many aspects of their lives, impacting their ability to participate fully in the local economy. According a 2015 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality, 14 percent of transgender and non-conforming respondents in Washington reported being unemployed, compared to the 4.6 percent unemployment rate of the general public. The number was even higher for black respondents, at 26 percent. Further, 16 percent of respondents reported having lost a job in their lifetime due to their gender identity or expression.
This partnership with the City substantially expands the reach of Ingersoll’s Seattle Trans Economic Empowerment Program (STEEP) and invests in strategies that directly address the challenges transgender people face in the workplace. In the next year, Ingersoll will provide individual job skills coaching sessions, host workshops focused on developing soft job skills, support job fairs, and provide access to gender affirming professional attire.
Ingersoll will also host monthly legal clinics focused on addressing issues with legal identity documents, including support for transgender people who have faced criminal charges at some point. At the same time, Ingersoll will expand its education and outreach efforts with local employers to foster safe, supportive work environments for transgender and gender-diverse employees. Businesses can reach out to Ingersoll at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Ingersoll Gender Center is an organization of, by and for transgender and gender diverse people that has been supporting its community since 1977. Up to this point, Ingersoll has been primarily volunteer-driven and had limited staffing and organizational capacity. This new funding allows Ingersoll to substantially build out the STEEP program, creating program metrics, sustainable practices, and sustainable fundraising strategies.