A Co-op to Fight Transgender Workplace Discrimination

Joselyn Mendoza and Linda Carolina (Photo by José Martínez via El Diario)

The New York State Division of Human Rights announced the publication of a brochure entitled “Protections Against Gender Identity Discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law,” a supplementary tool offered by their campaign to help New Yorkers battle harassment related to gender identity. Meanwhile, two undocumented transgender immigrant women tired of enduring workplace discrimination are taking matters into their own hands.

José Martínez of El Diario/La Prensa reports that Joselyn Mendoza and Linda Carolina – from Mexico and Colombia, respectively – are collaborating with a cooperative focused on community work to offer cosmetology and beauty services. They also seek to create a “safe place for professional growth” for themselves and other Latina transgender women in New York.

“Out project is to create a space where we can work together, focusing on communities that are low-income like us,” said Jocelyn, who is hoping that the launch will feature a fashion show, in which they plan to offer free hair and makeup demonstrations.

Project coordinator Daniel Puerto, an LGBT activist in Queens, said that the cooperative is sorely needed.

“In my experience, discrimination against the transgender community rests on three axles: verbal and psychological abuse, work exploitation and lack of wage equity, and a disinterest in improving work prospects for them,” said Puerto, adding that cosmetology is one of the few industries in which transgender women are accepted around the world.

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