Some 80% of Israelis would find it "difficult to impossible" to accept that their child is transgender, according to a new poll published as part of this week's Transgender Awareness Week.
The poll was initiated by the Israeli Institute for Gender and LGBTQ Studies – part of the Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel – and the Gila Project for Transgender Empowerment. The poll itself was carried out by the Geocartography Company.
The poll also found that 67% of Israelis do not have a problem working alongside someone who is transgender, one in every six Israelis knows someone transgender, and women tend to know more people who are transgender than men.
"The data that we are presenting today to the public is not encouraging whatsoever," said Project Gila head Bar Awasker.
Awasker called on the government to identify and monitor gaps in governmental systems that harm people on the transgender spectrum. He said that his organization was developing special training for medical teams and will attempt to develop other training programs for the private sector and education system in order to improve the standing and care of Israel's transgender community.
"There is no field in which transgender people are not excluded or discriminated against," said MK Naama Lazimi (Labor). "They suffer from hate and violence, social hardships and family boycotts, which leave them far behind from an employment standpoint. They are exposed to harassment, poverty and discrimination, and lack personal safety, which sometimes leads them into the circle of prostitution, sexual exploitation and suicide.
"The state authorities stack difficulties and do not recognize the depth of the need to expand the options available to this vulnerable community," Lazimi said. "We as a society must enable every person to live his life based on his free choice, in a way that is made available and accessible on the one hand, and safe, inclusive and equal on the other."
International Transgender Awareness Week (November 13-20) includes a number of events, conferences and educational activities aimed at increasing knowledge about the transgender community and its challenges among the general public.