Transgender and nonbinary Americans experience high rates of unemployment and harassment, according to the largest survey of their life experiences to date. This data reflects a long-standing pattern of discrimination, at a time when states across the country have passed laws restricting their health care, access to bathrooms and participation in sports.
The findings come from the U.S. Transgender Survey, which many researchers and policymakers have relied on since a version of it launched in 2011. The National Center for Transgender Equality, an advocacy group, conducted the latest iteration of the survey in late 2022, collecting responses from more than 92,000 transgender and non-binary Americans, ages 16 and older, from every state across the country.
The group published a preliminary analysis answers to the survey’s 600 questions on Wednesday, with the full report expected later this year.
The survey was not conducted among a random sample of transgender people, so it cannot be interpreted as representative of the transgender population as a whole. The survey is also predominantly young, with 43 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24.
Still, there were more than three times as many respondents as in 2015, the last time the survey was conducted. ledin which 28,000 people participated.
“You don’t see data sets like this,” Sandy James, attorney and the principal investigator of the new investigation, said during a press briefing. “Tens of thousands of trans people knew it was imperative that their voices be heard. »
Many respondents reported financial difficulties. Eighteen percent of those surveyed said they were unemployed, much higher than the national rate, and a third said they had been homeless at some point in their lives. More than a quarter reported not seeing a doctor when they needed to in the past year due to high costs.
Nearly a third of respondents reported being verbally harassed in the past year, and three percent of respondents reported being physically assaulted in the past year because of their gender identity.
But they also reported positive experiences. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed – almost 94 percent – said they were more satisfied with their lives since transitioning. Among those who received hormones, 98 percent said the treatments made them more satisfied with life.
Since the 2015 survey, state legislatures have become significantly more hostile toward LGBTQ people, with restrictions on health care for minors and adults, library books, bathroom access, sports participation in schools and gender identification on legal documents. State legislatures are currently considering nearly 400 such bills, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Nearly half of respondents in the 2022 survey said they had considered moving in the past year due to restrictive bills passed or introduced in their state, and 5% said they had moved. Forty-four percent reported serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days.
The results appear largely in line with those from 2015, although the group has not yet compared the data in detail, Dr. James said.
“A stable condition, an environment, has been created in which people are not able to thrive,” Dr. James said. “And trans people are trying to move forward in their lives, just like anyone else in the United States wants to do. »
The 2022 survey was the first to include respondents aged 16 and 17, and they made up more than 8,000 of the total respondents. Adolescents were excluded from some of the preliminary report’s other analyses, such as those related to their experiences with medical treatments, but they will be included in the report released later this year.
Sixty percent of teens reported mistreatment at school, including verbal harassment, physical violence, and online harassment, as well as being banned from using their preferred names, pronouns, or toilets that correspond to their gender identity. Minors were also more likely than adults to report having family members who were not supportive of their gender identity, and 5% said family members had been violent toward them because they were transgender.