What is it like to be trans in America? A new special on HLN with Dr. Drew hopes to give others a better understanding.
Dr. Drew said he wants to illuminate the issues facing transgender people in a two-part special called "Transgender in America" that will air on his HLN show on Wednesday and Thursday.
The special, filmed in front of a live audience, features transgender advocates discussing their lives as well as the discrimination they encounter at home, in public and in the workplace on a daily basis.
Dr. Drew said he decided to do the special now because he likes to dig deeper into the current stories that are in the headlines. "The simple answer as to why we decided to do this show is Caitlyn," he told The Huffington Post, referring to Caitlyn Jenner.
He said that the reaction to Jenner's story made him realize how ignorant the public is to trans issues, which then prompted him to develop a stronger relationship with people in the transgender community.
The first part of the special, he said, aims to frame the issues faced by the community as a whole, with guests that include trans comedian and “Transparent” actor Ian Harvie, as well as Dr. Marci Bowers, a well-known gender reassignment surgeon who is also transgender.
The second part of the special will be dedicated to issues of race in the trans community, and will include guests Bamby Salcedo, president of the TransLatina coalition, and comedian D’Lo.
Dr. Drew said that one issue he hopes to dedicate a significant amount of time to is the "tremendous risk and violence" that is associated with being a trans woman of color. While 17 trans women have been murdered in the U.S. this year alone, 15 of those were women of color.
This isn't just a coincidence either. "LGBT people are more victimized than any other minority," the Southern Poverty Law Center reported. "But within that world, trans women of color face the worst of all."
The second part of the special will also delve deeper into the poignant stories of trans women of color who have been forced into sex work out of desperation.
The special will air on HLN on Wednesday and Thursday at 9:00pm ET.