Transgender people face high rates of workplace discrimination and harassment; unemployment; economic insecurity; and homelessness. The 2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force revealed the following key findings:
- Double the rate of unemployment: Survey respondents experience unemployment at twice the rate of the population as a whole.
- Near universal harassment on the job: Ninety-seven percent (97%) of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job.
- Significant losses of jobs and careers: Forty-seven percent (47%) had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion.
- High rates of poverty: Fifteen percent (15%) of transgender people in our sample lived on $10,000 per year or less–double the rate of the general population.
- Significant housing instability: Nineteen percent (19%) of our sample have been or are homeless, 11% have faced eviction and 26% were forced to seek temporary space.
Facing these realities, model and transgender blacktivist Ryley Rubin Pogensky has decided to forge his own path towards greater economic security. Ryley is transforming his love of hot dogs into his own business: His very own QTPOC owned and operated hot dog stand. I mean, makes total sense. If you follow Ryley on the gram at @inbetweenthebun, you’ll see firsthand that he’s spending most of his hard earned money feeding his hot dog addiction. Only now, he’ll be at the helm as a QTPOC entrepreneur and serving as a role model for others to create their own employment opportunities outside the traditional workforce.
“I’m sick of having to explain my gender in job interviews. I’m tired of knowing that my stock literally drops when a hiring manager sees my skin color. I’m over having to guess if my resume is shiny enough to deter from all of the unasked questions about who and why I exist the way I do.
I have always lived to bring people together and make people happy. That’s it. That’s my life goal. One of the things that brings me exponential happiness is food. Food has always been something that has brought humans together. With food comes conversation, and with conversation come ideas, new friends, and new possibilities. We all have a food, a snack, a decadent dessert, a secret adoration, a nostalgic bite. My food of foods has always been hotdogs.
And now. I’m going to serve them on my terms.”
To support Ryley’s efforts, donate to his GoFundMe crowd sourcing project here.