Transgender People Face Astounding Inequality, Study Shows

Many people wouldn’t be surprised to learn that transgender people experience discrimination (see: North Carolina’s HB2), but now there’s a 300-page report to back up that gut feeling, and the levels of inequality are far more than many people would expect.

The new study, released earlier this month by the National Center for Transgender Equality, shows that transgender people face a truly shocking amount of discrimination. The study involved an anonymous online survey of almost 28,000 people across the U.S. The researchers found devastating levels of discrimination in every aspect of life, from work, family, housing and general safety.

“The findings reveal disturbing patterns of mistreatment and discrimination and startling disparities between transgender people in the survey and the U.S. population when it comes to the most basic elements of life, such as finding a job, having a place to live, accessing medical care, and enjoying the support of family and community,” wrote the researchers.

Family Life and Support

Respondents reported varying levels of support from family members. Most of the respondents (60 percent) who were out to their families said their families were supportive of their gender identity. Another 18 percent said their family was unsupportive and the remainder said their family was neutral.

For transgender people, family support can have a significant impact on the rest of their lives. Transgender people with supportive families were less likely to experience other forms of discrimination and hardship or to experience them to a lesser extent. Those with supportive families were almost 20 percent less likely to experience homelessness and less likely to attempt suicide.

Unfortunately, not all families are supportive. One in ten transgender people reported that a family member was violent toward them for being trans and 8 percent were kicked out of the house by their family. Another ten percent ran away from home.

Mistreatment in School

Discrimination against transgender people starts at an early age. Almost 80 percent of people were were openly or believed to be transgender while in school experienced mistreatment. More than half experienced verbal harassment, a quarter experienced physical assault and 13 percent were sexually assaulted because they were transgender.

Seventeen percent of transgender K-12 students left a school because the experienced such severe mistreatment.

Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination against trans people doesn’t end when they get their diploma. In fact, discrimination at work can be so serious for transgender people that many end up unemployed and even homeless.

For example, 13 percent of the respondents had lost a job because they were transgender and 19 percent had been fired, denied a promotion or not been hired for a job because of their gender identity.

In the past year, 15 percent said their were verbally harassed or physically or sexually assaulted while at work because they were transgender.

Experiences in Bathrooms

The survey took place before North Carolina’s discriminatory bathroom bill, HB2, was legalized. And yet, transgender people already faced discrimination and violence in public restrooms so great that 59 percent avoided them altogether. As a result, they often experienced urinary tract infections, kidney infections or other kidney-related issues. About one-third of respondents limited what they ate and drank during the day so they wouldn’t have to use public restrooms.

Nine percent said they’d been refused access to a public bathroom because of their gender identity and 12 percent reported being verbally, physically or sexually assaulted in a public bathroom. Despite what North Carolina’s lawmakers believe, it’s trans people who are in danger in public restrooms.

Harassment, Violence and Homicide

The survey found that transgender people face horrific levels of  harassment, sexual assault and physical violence. Almost half of respondents had been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, with 10 percent reporting they’d been sexually assaulted in the year prior to the survey. More than half had experienced intimate partner violence.

In the past year, almost half had been verbally harassed for being transgender and 9 percent had been physically assaulted.

These experiences were even more common for respondents who had experienced homelessness or who had engaged in sex work.

While not included in the research, transgender people also face alarming rates of homicide, with black transwomen being specifically targeted. According to Mic, if everyone faced the same risk of murder as a black transwoman, the murder rate would increase from 15,696 to 120,087.

Of all the transgender murders in the U.S. between 2013-2015, not one was prosecuted and none were reported as hate crimes.

To make sure these lost trans lives are not forgotten, Mic created a database called “Unerased” which includes over one hundred murdered trans people.

Photo Credit: Anna Vander Stel

117 comments

JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris8 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Jack Y
Jack Yabout a year ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Yabout a year ago

thanks

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John J
John Jabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John Jabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Nang Hai C
Nang Hai C2 years ago

noted.thanks

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Robert N
Rob Chloe Sam N2 years ago

With everything that is going on in the world, Why do people make such a big fuss about transgender people, They are human and have the right to live in piece and with equal rights.

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Donna T
Donna T2 years ago

thank you

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Chen B
Chen Boon Fook2 years ago

ty

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