A groundbreaking new study reveals that transgender people suffer widespread discrimination in a variety of fields, including education, employment, housing, health care, and more.
The study, “Injustice at Every Turn,” released Friday by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date:
This study brings to light what is both patently obvious and far too often dismissed from the human rights agenda.
Transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice at every turn: in childhood homes, in school systems that promise to shelter and educate, in harsh and exclusionary workplaces, at the grocery store, the hotel front desk, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, before judges and at the hands of landlords, police officers, health care workers and other service providers.
The study was based on the results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), which received responses from over 6,450 participants.
Among the key findings from “Injustice at Every Turn”:
- Respondents were nearly four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, with household income of less than $10,000.
- Respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or other mistreatment in the workplace, and one in four were fired because of their gender identity or expression.
- While discrimination was pervasive for the entire sample, it was particularly pronounced for people of color. African-American transgender respondents fared far worse than all others in many areas studied.
- Housing discrimination was also common. 19% reported being refused a home or apartment and 11% reported being evicted because of their gender identity or expression. One in five respondents experienced homelessness because of their gender identity or expression.
- An astonishing 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to only 1.6% of the general population.
- Discrimination in health care and poor health outcomes were frequently experienced by respondents. 19% reported being refused care due to bias against transgender or gender-nonconforming people, with this figure even higher for respondents of color. Respondents also had over four times the national average of HIV infection.
- Harassment by law enforcement was reported by 22% of respondents and nearly half were uncomfortable seeking police assistance.
- Despite the hardships they often face, transgender and gender non-conforming persons persevere. Over 78% reported feeling more comfortable at work and their performance improving after transitioning, despite the same levels of harassment in the workplace.
“By shedding light on the discrimination that transgender Americans face, this study poses a challenge to us all,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the Task Force.
“No one should be out of a job, living in poverty, or faced with sub-par health care simply because of their gender identity or expression. The scope of the problem is clear, and now we must come together to solve it,” she said.