Columbus groups discuss concerns of transgender community

Columbus groups discuss concerns of transgender community

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Some local and regional organizations in Georgia say the transgender community needs the same rights as the general population.

News Leader 9 heard from some of those organizations in Columbus on Thursday night at town hall at the Columbus Public Library on Macon Road.

The purpose of the town hall was to make the public aware of the struggles and accomplishments of the LGBT community.

A panel of transgender supporters had plenty to say about how equality for the population is progressing but they believe there's still work to do.

"We are part of the general community. We have the same values. We just want to be able to work and have fair housing health care and be able to use the restroom that aligns with our gender. It's about equality. We're not looking for any special treatment just equal treatment," said Chanel Haley.

The Equality for all Town Hall meeting addressed the goals of the transgender community.

Haley, a member of the panel, has been a transgender woman since 1996. She's now an advocate with Georgia Equality.

"I had a problem getting employment because of my transition of being a woman and I did a lot of volunteering and helping with that," said Haley.

GLADD or Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation leaders say transgender people experience unemployment at twice the rate of the general population. Some say this particular community is largely misunderstood and discriminated against.

"Not really knowing where they fit and where they stand. And lacking a definition that most of the public seems to lack. There's is a problem when it comes to equal access to facilities," said Steve Gill of Better Way Foundation.

"We are constituents voters and to make sure all aspects of life in the community are inclusive and that includes  transgender individuals," said Haley.

Cities like Atlanta have non-discrimination ordinances for LGBT while in other cities like Houston, Texas, a similar ordinance was recently declined by voters this past Tuesday.

COLGAY Pride, Lost & Found Atlanta, Young Democrats of Georgia, and Georgia Equality are working in solidarity to foster civil, public conversations to unite our community.

Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson recently proposed separate bathrooms for transgender people.

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