Even the founders of Safe Bars were surprised at how successful the program has been in its inaugural year, training the employees of nearly 30 local establishments in the best ways to intervene in instances of potential harassment and sexual assault.
But after evaluating their work, Safe Bars is now expanding its mission to include helping transgender people of color find and keep employment through the "Safe Bars Collective."
Safe Bars co-founder Jessica Raven says the pilot program was inspired by the high unemployment rates for trans people of color in D.C., and the lack of trans workers who were working at the establishments they trained.
"We saw that as a huge problem because bars are only going to be safe for people who see themselves reflected in the bar staff," says Raven, the executive director of Collective Action for Safe Spaces, which runs the newly formed Safe Bars Collective in a partnership with the Restaurant Opportunities Center.
Transgender applicants face significant discrimination in the hiring process in D.C., according to a first-of-its-kind study from the D.C. Office of Human Rights, which found that the restaurant industry has the highest discrimination rate at 67 percent. While it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual identity in D.C., trans folks say it happens to them all the time. About 14,550 people in the District of Columbia identify as transgender. Read more via DCist