California has launched its first-ever programme to help trans people find a job.

A first in US history, the California Transgender Workplace Project aims to tackle transphobic discrimination and cut the unemployment rate among the transgender community.

The trans unemployment rate is twice the national average and even higher if the person is black or from an ethnic minority.

The project, which is run in partnership with the California Restaurant Association, will give trans people jobs in restaurants across the state.

Those who hire someone from the programme will have the first 60 hours of a new start’s wages paid for them, through a $150,000 grant set up by the state government.

The project has been started thanks to Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans woman who owns a number of franchises in Southern California.

“The word’s just gotten out that I’m a trans owner supporting trans people,” she said.

Until she hired her first trans employee in 2012, she was the only trans person in her restaurants.

She decided action needed to be taken when she heard accounts of trans people being laughed out of interviews or being told the position was no longer available when turning up to meet the hiring managers.