Equality Texas attributes Jennifer Gale's death to lack of shelters helping transgender people

Posted on 19 Dec 2008 at 10:38am

Equality Texas, the statewide LGBT equality group, says the death of Jennifer Gale points to critical problems faced by the homeless, particularly women and trans people. Gale is the transgender woman and perennial political candidate whose body was found outside a church in the state capital this week. Marti Bier, an aide for openly gay Austin City Councilwoman Randi Shade, sheds some light on the issue in Equality Texas’ press release:

“Something Jennifer would never talk about, but was a reality for her, is that she is a trans woman living in a transphobic society. Homelessness in the trans community is a really big problem, and one that goes ignored. There are no laws in Texas protecting transgender people, whether from job discrimination, housing discrimination or hate crimes. There was really nowhere for Jennifer Gale to go to protect herself from the cold last night. The Salvation Army (the only shelter in town that takes in women) would not let her in there unless she was grouped with the men (which includes sleeping with, and showering with, other homeless men). They would make her use her male birth name and completely disregard, and disrespect, her identity as a trans woman. There is so much to be learned from Jennifer Gale, and so much to be worked on in our community.”

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