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Jenniferhenderson hero
By Jennifer Henderson
• Mar 27, 2024
TD Bank Vice President and Executive Technology Lead of the Core Platform

During Women's History Month, TD has spotlighted women leaders at the bank who are creating positive change for our colleagues, customers, and the communities we serve. Women's history includes the experiences of all women, and Trans Women's stories are part of that history.

In honor of Women's History Month and Trans Day of Visibility, we heard from Jennifer Henderson, Vice President and Executive Technology Lead of the Core Platform, currently serving as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of Out & Equal Workplace Associates and on the Executive Advisory Board of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies, on the importance of visibility.

It’s been a tough year to be a person who is transgender.

In the United States, where I live, the health and wellbeing of transgender individuals has become a political issue. According to the ACLU there are almost 500 anti-2SLGBTQ bills working their way through statehouses - and similar bills have been proposed in Canada.

Many of these bills aim to limit access to life saving healthcare, access to public facilities, legal identification, and more. It’s hard to be publicly visible as a transgender person when lawmakers are actively trying to legislate you out of existence.

According to this 2022 report from UCLA’s School of Law Williams Institute, 1.6 million people ages 13 years and up identify as transgender in the United States. This means that approximately 1.4% of the U.S. population is transgender. And this is changing: a study by the Pew Research Center shows that 5.1% of adults under the age of thirty are trans or non-binary.

And no, there isn’t anything that is creating more transgender individuals; it’s that the younger generation have more access to information about the gender spectrum. They have the words to express their own internal understanding of their own gender. And even with the political environment being stacked against them, they are seeing communities and companies, like TD Bank, that honor and respect people for their differences.

The transgender community is one that is in crisis. One in five transgender people report being homeless at some point in their lives. Transgender Americans are nearly four times more likely to have a household income under $10,000 per year despite 87% of transgender adults having completed at least some college and 47% having obtained a college or graduate degree. Between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023, the Trans Murder Monitoring Report which tracks media accounts of transgender homicides counted three hundred and twenty transgender victims. A great majority of these deaths were trans women of color.

So why is visibility important?

In the previously mentioned Pew Research Center study, 44% of people surveyed said that they know someone who is transgender. About a quarter of the population say they have a friend who is transgender, 13% have a coworker who are trans, and 10% report that they have a transgender or non-binary family member. It’s difficult to be hateful or to discriminate against someone you personally know.

Transgender individuals must have allies who stand up for them. The transgender community must have allies to help dispel the misinformation and ignorance of what it means to be transgender.

I am honored to serve as an executive at TD Bank, based in Ohio. I have been given a role in technology that is literally at the core of what TD offers to our customers and community every day. It is a responsibility I don’t take lightly as I lead an incredible group of people who take their role in keeping our systems running very seriously. I also happen to be trans.

That’s why it’s important for me to be visible. The more people who see me as a valued member of society may become educated about what they can do to help protect transgender people from those who don’t understand us and have probably never met a single one of us.

In being visible at work Transgender employees have proven their bravery and strength despite the potential dangers. There aren’t many of us, but when transgender individuals hold positions of leadership and influence, it sends a powerful message: we are capable, talented, and deserving of equal opportunities.

We are your employees, we are your coworkers, we are your friends, we are your family, and we need you.

Want to learn more about Women's History Month?
The Path Less Traveled: Immigrant, Mother, and Now CFO
Celebrating People is the Lesson of a Lifetime One Woman Learned from Her Mother
Rose Staram: The Entrepreneurial Journey from Tax Accounting to Event Planning Success

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