Wide-Ranging Study Shows Transgender People Face Disproportionate Hardships

Dec 8, 2016

A wide-ranging new study shows transgender people struggle to attain basic needs like employment, housing, and healthcare. Advocates hope the United States Transgender Survey will expand the public conversation.

Credit Ted Eytan via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/

Unemployment, poverty, psychological distress, and violence are part of the everyday existence of many transgender people, according to a new nationwide study. In recent years, trans people have made strides, with greater visibility and public acceptance. Authors of the study say, with more than 27,000 respondents, individuals are becoming more comfortable speaking out. But advocates are worried the next presidential administration could undo that progress. Meanwhile, an extended debate around public accommodations is playing out on the national stage. Mara Keisling heads the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“When we aren’t allowed to use a bathroom at school it means we can’t be students. And when we’re not allowed to use a bathroom at work it means we can’t have a job,” Keisling said.

But Keisling says there is so much more to the trans experience.

“Every minute we spend talking about it, we’re not talking about the problems in real people’s lives. We’re not talking about the economic marginalization. We’re not talking about the real inability to get a career going for so many people. We’re not talking about people being alienated from their faith communities and their families,” Keisling said.

The new study shows trans people are three times more likely to be unemployed, and almost nine times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. In the state of Florida it is still legal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.