screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-2-00-13-pmToday, the National Center for Transgender Equality released findings from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS), the largest survey ever conducted of transgender people. The USTS examined the experiences of transgender people across the United States, with an incredible 27,715 respondents. The USTS serves as a follow-up to the groundbreaking 2008-2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

The report of the 2015 USTS provides a detailed look at the experiences of transgender people across a wide range of categories including education, employment, family life, health, housing, and interactions with the criminal justice system. The findings expose disturbing patterns of mistreatment, discrimination, and startling disparities between transgender people and the general population about the most basic elements of life such as finding a job, having a place to live, accessing appropriate medical care, and enjoying the support of family and community. When the respondents are broken out by race, a clear and disturbing pattern is revealed: trans people of color experience deeper and broader patterns of discrimination than their peers or the general population.

Among the top-level findings:

  • One-third of the respondents identified as non-binary.
  • In the year prior to completing the survey, nearly half (46%) of respondents were verbally harassed and 9% were physically attacked because of being transgender.
  • Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents were living in poverty, compared to 14% in the U.S. population.
  • A major contributor to the high rate of poverty is likely respondents’ 15% unemployment rate—three times higher than the unemployment rate in the U.S. population at the time of the survey (5%).
  • 39% of respondents were currently experiencing serious psychological distress, compared with only 5% of the U.S. population.
  • 40% of respondents have attempted suicide in their lifetime—nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S. population (4.6%).

Transgender people are facing tremendous injustices in nearly every area of life, but across the country they have stood up and told their stories through this survey. The policy implications are huge for this data and Equality Federation looks forward to the transformative solutions that will support transgender people at the state level and across the country.


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Mel King

Mel King is the Development and Operations Manager for Equality Federation, the national strategic partner to state-based organizations working to win equality in the communities we call home. In this role, he manages the individual giving program and the donor database, as well as operations for the communications department and internal systems. He also serves as the board liaison.

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