This community relations story focuses on the attitude of members towards the Metro Police Department and Southeast DC metro safety. Check out my final video here.
By Shawna Mizelle
Strides in LGBTQIA rights and recognition have been made in the U.S. over the past several years. Indeed same sex marriage was legalized in June of 2015 by the United States Supreme Court. Despite the progress made some members of the LGBTQIA community still feel discriminated against.
Cali Ferguson, a pre-transition transgender woman is one such individual.
Ferguson who lives in Suitland, Maryland still faces everyday issues as she gets stereotyped by employers and sometimes, family too.
In Washington, D.C. an estimated 7.6% of the population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, or asexual. This is a higher percentage than the majority of other states in the U.S. who averaged a LGBTQIA population of 3.5%.
One area in which Ferguson said she faced discrimination is in employment. According to Huffington Post 21% of LBGTQIA employees reported workplace discrimination in the U.S.
Ferguson said employers would tell her they needed a woman in the shop, but then told her they’re still figuring things out when she tried to seize the opportunity.
Instead of focusing on the hardships she is looking forward to the end goal to get her through. Ferguson also enjoys being a woman.
“Being able to handle the weight of the world, be deeply in tune with my emotions, all while still being able to possess an allurement & certain beauty that each woman has,” she said.
Another woman Tiara Howard, from Congress Heights has had to deal with being made feel less of a woman because she is male presenting. Male presenting involves behavioral characteristics, and physical appearances of the male sex.
“I know I am a woman. I always taught myself that adversity is an opportunity to learn and grow,” she said.
Howard revealed that having other persons that she can relate to has been reassuring.
“Before coming out I felt like I couldn’t be myself or talk to anyone about what I feel now. It’s assuring knowing that there are many others in the community that you can talk to who will understand your experience,” she continued.
While there is a more accepting attitude towards members of the LGBTQIA community in the U.S., not everyone is as welcoming. A Gallup poll showed 52% of Americans were supportive of homosexual lifestyles, while surveys from 1988 show only 11% approval. United States Vice President Mike Pence has openly spoke out against the community and event went as far to say keeping gays from getting married was a part of “God’s idea.”
While attitudes are shifting, reality has not caught up with this. Organizations such as HIPS offer support. “The community outreach and public education we do is so important. That is the first step toward breaking stereotypes and ending discrimination,” a HIPS representative said.
For those struggling with identity or simply looking for a support group in the Washington, D.C. area are encouraged to use these resources.
By Shawna Mizelle
Many have witnessed the various technological changes in the past few years, but the rise of Uber, a car transportation app, has been a sight to see.
Uber technologies launched their app in Washington D.C in 2011, making it the seventh city with the technology. Some six years later almost everyone in the Metro area is accustomed to the app and it’s features.
Since coming to D.C. Uber has overcome many legal issues, competitors such as Lyft, and taxi cabs. Whether or not Uber has put a dampen on taxi cab business is debatable. In 2016, the San Francisco Yellow Cab company was forced to file for bankruptcy—the rapid change in car service played a role in this.
Mrs. Porter of the Taxi Transportation Service states that they have not seen a direct impact in business due to Uber. Mrs. Porter says, “Business comes and goes. It’s not constant, but it’s not lacking.”
A consumer report compared the two avenues of transportation and their cost noting that although Uber may be better for longer trips over $35 that the taxi cab is a cheaper alternative when Uber’s surge prices are through the roof. Majority of the people using taxi cabs now are older or visiting from another town, while Uber is geared towards tech savvy millennials.
Although Uber is geared specifically towards smartphones, they didn’t stop there. Studies show 77% of Americans own a smartphone, but Uber offers options for the quarter that doesn’t as well. By offering online services that can be obtained by anyone with internet access Uber once again uses technology as an advantage over it’s competitors.
Emmanuel Charles, a Ward 8 resident believes Uber has provided much needed competition.
“Before Uber WMATA was the only major way of transportation around the city. Taxis also played a big part of how commuters got to and from. I always had a feeling something like Uber would come along because public transportation simply can not be trusted. With the ever so constant track work, delays, and buses seem to come when they feel like it; people need something vastly more convenient than WMATA and prices more reasonable than the fare for a taxi,.” he said.
Blessing Marzo who has been in the district for the past six years believes that Uber provides another choice for commuters. She notes the efficiency and convenience of the app, but states “Sometimes Uber can take advantage of the consumers need by adding ridiculous surge prices.”
Uber’s algorithms up the prices when there is an increase in demand, thus generating more profit. According to a study Uber is worth almost 70 billion— a number that could not have been obtainable without technology.