The Case for Guaranteed Income for Transgender Americans

Two Californian cities are attempting to roll out guaranteed income programs specifically serving their transgender residents.

San Francisco's city hall lit in the colors of the transgender pride flag during 2019.  (Photo by Peter HoseyCC BY-ND 2.0)

Guaranteed income alleviates poverty but, with resources limited, the question is often about who to serve with pilot programs. Two California cities are helping their transgender residents — who might be more accustomed to persecution from the government than a helping hand.

Long-standing discrimination creates economic barriers, which are only worsened as a raft of anti-trans proposals spreads between state legislatures. Already transgender Americans are four times more likely than others to make less than $10,000 per year, according to CLEAR, the Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research.

In this episode of the podcast, Next City Executive Director Lucas Grindley talks with reporter Ray Levy Uyeda about their story on guaranteed-income programs in Palm Springs and San Francisco. We also meet Jacob Rostovsky, who as executive director of Queer Works is helping design the program based on community engagement.

“What I'm hearing from the community is that it's actually going to take them from way under the poverty line to just at the poverty line,” said Rostovsky, who says he’s fielding lots of inquiries. “It takes them to — you know, it's sad to say, it takes them to a normalized level of poverty and suffering — but even that is enough of a change to be able to help get clothes for a job, pay for an Uber, or be able to not have to decide between eating and gender-affirming care.”

Listen to this episode below or subscribe to Next City’s podcast on Apple or Spotify.

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