2015 transgender survey reaffirms dire straits for trans people; future looks murky

trans-kidsLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — The recently released 2015 National Center for Transgender Education (NCTE) Transgender Survey findings are in short, a confirmation of earlier surveys and other research findings — things are as dire as we’ve been saying they are.

The NCTE stated 28,000 trans people completed the survey — four times the number of the previous survey (2008-09).

[Disclosure: I participated in the 2015 survey.]

On the upside, the survey bolsters our position in arguing for legal, administrative and legislative means of relief and/or equality. On the downside, conditions have improved very little for the average trans person even though much has been achieved. I would point out though, we have set the stage for younger trans people to have a less difficult route to happiness than many of us endured.

Sadly, recent election outcomes throws a monkey wrench in the formulating of what lies ahead for trans people. At best, things remain the same, at worse, a rollback of several decades of legislative gains. At this writing, absolutely no one has clue to exactly what is going to transpire. Probably not even the president-elect himself.

Survey highlights (taken from the NCTE Summary):

In the year prior to completing the survey:
46% of respondents were verbally harassed.
30% who had a job reported being fired, denied a promotion, or experiencing some other form of mistreatment.

Mental health:
39% of respondents experienced serious psychological distress in the month prior to completing the survey.
40% attempted suicide in their lifetime.

29% of all respondents were living in poverty.
38% poverty level for Black, 43% for Latino, 40% for multiracial.
30% experienced homelessness at some point in their lifetime.
16% reported home ownership, compared to 63% of the U.S. population.
20% participated in the underground economy for income at some point in their lives, including 12% who conducted sex work for income.

Disabled trans people:
24% unemployed.
45% living in poverty.
59% serious psychological distress.
54% attempted suicide in their lifetime.
42% mistreatment by health care providers.

K-12 education:
54% of those who were out or perceived as transgender were verbally harassed.
24% physically attacked.
13% sexually assaulted.
17% faced such severe mistreatment that they left a K–12 school.

Police interaction:
57% of respondents said they would feel uncomfortable asking the police for help.
33% of Black transgender women said during the past year, an officer assumed they were sex workers.
86% of sex workers reported being harassed, attacked, sexually assaulted, or mistreated in some other way by police.


I’ve compiled a list of prior surveys and other research findings: https://wordpress.com/page/lexiecannes.com/4404

2015 NCTE Survey Summary: http://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/USTS-Executive-Summary-FINAL.PDF


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Categories: Discrimination, Equality, Civil Rights, Transgender, Transsexual, Trans, Transphobia, exploitation, dehumanizing, violence, hate

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13 replies

  1. I’m a straight guy. I suffered the same exact things that you might have when I was growing up.
    Bullying, Name calling, what ever. Being beaten up. It’s how us humans sort each other out, apparently.
    Been going on for millenia.
    Sorry to tell you, but no matter what you say, no matter what you do, no matter what laws you pass,
    this crap will go on. It’s human nature.
    Sorry, I feel for you, but it cannot be stopped. Truly sorry, but that’s the way it is.

    You cannot fundamentally change human nature. That’s just the way shit goes down. sorry.
    And I’m a “big” guy. Shit happens, you ain’t going to change it, sorry. I don’t mean to demean you.
    In a perfect world,it would be different.

    It’s not a perfect world.

    • I have more faith in the inherent goodness of people. But your right, we won’t be changing the attitudes of those grown and hardened in their ways. But time will take care of that.

      In any case you fight the fights that need fighting. And your comment just reinforces what I said. We can speak for ourselves. You don’t fight bullies you don’t silence bullies you breed them out of existence. Time will prove me right on this.

      In the meantime just stand aside.

    • Dear straight guy. If you had bothered to read the study summary, you would have learned that the rate of suicide attempts for trans people is nearly 10x that of straight people That is a fact.

      As for bullying, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been going on. Murder has been going for the same length of time. It is illegal and you can get jailed. Likewise with bullying. Bully someone? You should be jailed. Can’t excuse the behavior because “shit happens.”

      • Well Lexie it’s easy for a cis privileged male to talk like a that. He’s right though bad things happen but I wonder how long he would last if he lived our life.

        In the meantime we don’t accept that change can’t happen. A few hundred years ago they would have said much the same about slavery.

  2. It’s not surprising that this survey does not reflect the real progress that has been made. But we know things have improved and continue to do so. But progress is not a linear straight line progression.

    If I had one wish it would be that we all, as a group take back our destinies and begin speaking for ourselves rather than letting others do it for us. It’s time, we need the T part of the LGB equation to separate. Their was a time we needed that close association but that time is past. I’m not talking about a divorce, it’s just time for the kids to leave home.

    And for heavens sake we need to do a better job of coming together and presenting a unified national and international front. We are ready.

    I don’t find these results disheartening, they just establish a bench mark. Past time we stop bickering amongst ourselves and take back control over our destinies.

    Personally I feel optimistic. I see so many examples of young trans people who are articulate and accomplished. Now is the time to double down.

    I’m old now but I feel so very proud of what has been accomplished. Just imagine what things could look like in another 20 or 30 years.

    • Mostly agree w/you Amber. At least up the point in your logic where you call for us to distance ourselves from the coalition. I’m a COMMONIST…. It’s time for us to recognize that the rabid deconstructionist activism that has served us fairly well up to this point will end up destroying us. Our detractors must enjoy themselves tremendously watching us fight amongst ourselves. Finding, and focusing on our COMMONALITIES, rather than our differences. Building coalition and solidarity is what will move us forward (or in the current setting allow us to hold on to some semblance of the gains).

      • I did use the word separate but that’s not an accurate reflection of how I feel. I wanted to convey the idea that we need to separate our issues which are often unique and take charge of our own destinies. Trans people should speak for trans people. Coalitions are valuable but I think it’s time we come together and no longer allow delegates to speak on our behalf.

        But the really important point where we agreed is this ridiculous bickering amongst ourselves has to stop. We don’t have our own universally recognized spokes people or lobbyists or protests. It’s essential we do this. Personally I’m over discussing minor differences when people are dying because they lack access to medical care, are denied basic human rights and that list goes on.

    • Amber, the study wasn’t meant to track the progress of what you speak of. Likewise, it takes time for the progress we’ve made to show up in surveys like this one. I agree with you these surveys are a baseline. Thanks for your comments.

  3. I participated in the survey. I’m only about half way through reading and digesting the full 300+ pages of the report, but some things have already become apparent to me. First and foremost is that the survey methodology is excellent work and gives the most comprehensive, usable and defensible data set ever produced for the trans-experience in the USA. Second, the numbers are BAD but not as bad as I would have predicted.
    In my opinion the evidence can be distilled down to 3 core causative factors from which all others flow: Misogyny, Employment discrimination and Racism….. These aren’t trans-exclusive. And, we continue to make the sociological mistake of coining our outrage and solution proposals as “Trans Rights” (inferring SPECIAL rights). When will we as a “community” see that this is about systemic denial of basic HUMAN RIGHTS and denial of basic rights under the US Constitution and craft our language as such? The average under educated person here in the US feels under served and abused themselves and reacts negatively to anybody else getting “more/special”. Those folks in the middle are far more likely to see commonality with and support GENERAL human and civil rights initiatives…….
    Also, we’re more intelligent and talented than the general population. Instead of begging for jobs let’s start businesses! Money talks…..

    • I don’t live in the US, I’m a cousin just to the north. Our issues are the same though but within a less polarized society. We have many of the rights that don’t exist in your country. I’m lucky to live where I do.

      Having said that I agree with your comments and think they apply universally. Their exists built in systemic discrimination in countries which are supposed to cherish protection of personal freedoms and expression. This is no small thing and overcoming it needs the overwhelming majority of people to want this, to believe in it and not be frightened by it.

      I think the US in particular is a long way from that.

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