So much of the news regarding transgender people is all bigotry, all hate, all the time. For a change, a couple of positive stories. I wish the article about Mumbai used transgender people, rather than transgenders, which reads all kinds of wrong to me.
Jennifer Pritzker is a retired U.S. Army colonel and a businesswoman. She is also thought to be the only openly transgender billionaire in the world.
The Pritzker family founded the Hyatt hotel chain and, according to Forbes magazine, is one of the 400 wealthiest broods in America. Forbes estimates that Pritzker alone is worth $1.76 billion.
But if money doesn’t buy happiness, it also doesn’t buy tolerance. This is why Pritzker, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1974, didn’t come out publicly as transgender until 2013.
Fortunately, Pritzker says, a lot has changed since 1974. Not enough, but a lot.
Determined to help foster that change, the military veteran and philanthropist recently donated $2 million to the University of Victoria to establish a chair of transgender studies at the school — the first of its kind in the world.
“Knowledge dispels fear,” she says (a motto she picked up from the British Royal Air Force.) “It helps people dispel fear of the unknown, of (for instance) jumping out of an airplane in flight.”
If you can train people to do something as inherently terrifying as jumping out of airplanes, Pritzker believes, it’s reasonable to assume that you can also convince prejudiced lawmakers and American citizens to accept their transgender peers.
“There’s still work to be done,” says Pritzker. But those who support transgender rights can take some solace in the fact that big business is beginning to understand the bottom line.
“Productivity and profitability will not suffer by virtue of inclusion,” Pritzker says. “I’m as much a capitalist as I am anything else. And capitalism doesn’t have to be a zero sum game.”
Mumbai: With an aim to make transgender community self-dependent, a national-level ‘Trans Empowerment Mela’ will be organised in suburban Borivali here allowing over 500 community members to showcase their entrepreneurial ideas.
The Mela, to be held on Tuesday, is being organised by Anam Prem, an NGO, with the objective of “making the transgender community self-dependent through dignified modes of income generation”.
“This mela gives a platform to the hundreds of transgenders across the country and will make everyone aware of their entrepreneurial potential. It would also remove the long-held (negative) societal perceptions about the community,” said Manisha Parab, a volunteer from the group.