The National Center for Transgender Equality has released the results of the 2015 US Transgender Survey, which documents widespread discrimination against the transgender community in employment, housing, healthcare, and public accommodations. It is the largest survey of it’s kind, with over 27,000 respondents from across the country. Of these respondents, more than one third did not identify as either male or female, but reported a non-binary (or genderqueer) gender identity. Among the key findings in the report.
Survey respondents reported an unemployment rate of 15%, which is three-times that of the general population. Not suprisingly, this means higher rates of poverty and a reliance on underground economies. Close to one-third of all survey respondents were found to be living in poverty (this number being even higher for transgender people of color), and one-third also reported having experienced homelessness at some points in their lives.
A lack of financial resources proved to be a significant barrier to participants getting identity documents updated with their desired name and gender. 35% of those who have not changed their legal name and 32% of those who have not updated their identity documents (like a drivers license) have not done so because they could not afford it.
One quarter of all respondents had a problem in the past year with their insurance related to being transgender. Further, one third of those who sought medical care reported a negative experience such as being harrassed, misgendered, or refused treatment.
This lack of access to quality care is particularly disturbing when you take into account the needs of the transgender community. Transgender individuals reported higher rates of recent psychological distress, which is not suprising considering the challenges faced in society. An extremely troubling 40% of respondents report having attempted suicide in their lifetime.
Finally, the HIV/AIDS rate of the survey participants was (1.4%) was five times that of the general population in the United States. That number skyrockets to 19% when looking specifically at Black transgender women.
46% of survey respondents report being verbally harrassed and 9% report being physically attacked in the past year. Nearly half of respondents have experienced sexual assault at some point in their lifetime.
Room for Hope
While these numbers are deeply troubling, there are some reasons to be hopeful. More than two-thirds of those who were out at in the workplace reported that their coworkers were supportive.
Further, more than half of participants reported that their families are currently supportive of them, and this family support is crucial. Individuals with supportive families experienced lower rates of homelessness, suicide, and psychological distress, a finding consistent with the work of the Family Acceptance Project.
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Find out more at www.ustranssurvey.org
2015 US Transgender Survey