In the United States there are 1.4 million people that identify as transgender. Approximately 30,000 transgender people live in Massachusetts alone, according to the University of California-Los Angeles law school’s Williams Institute, which conducts research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.

Critical Stats

• 16% of Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender while a recent Pew poll shows that 87% of Americans say they personally know someone who is lesbian, gay, or bisexual. (Source: GLAAD/Harris Interactive poll)

• According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 55% of all reported LGBT homicide victims were transgender women, and 50% were transgender women of color. Furthermore, in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 78% transgender/gender non-conforming students in grades K-12 experienced harassment, while 35% experienced physical assault and 12% experienced sexual violence.

• Discrimination was pervasive throughout the entire sample, yet the combination of anti-transgender bias and persistent, structural racism was especially devastating. People of color in general fare worse than white participants across the board, with African American transgender respondents faring worse than all others in many areas examine.

• Respondents lived in extreme poverty. Our sample was nearly four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000/year compared to the general population (Source: National Transgender Discrimination Survey)

• A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population, with rates rising for those who lost a job due to bias (55%), were harassed/bullied in school (51%), had low household income, or were the victim of physical assault (61%) or sexual assault (64%)

• Respondents who have been harassed and abused by teachers in K-12 settings showed dramatically worse health and other outcomes than those who did not experience such abuse. Peer harassment and abuse also had highly damaging effects

• Forty-seven percent (47%) said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming.

• Over one-quarter (26%) reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming and 50% were harassed.

• Large majorities attempted to avoid discrimination by hiding their gender or gender transition (71%) or delaying their gender transition (57%).

• The vast majority (78%) of those who transitioned from one gender to the other reported that they felt more comfortable at work and their job performance improved, despite high levels of mistreatment.

• Overall, 16% said they had been compelled to work in the underground economy for income (such as doing sex work or selling drugs).

• Respondents who were currently unemployed experienced debilitating negative outcomes, including nearly double the rate of working in the underground economy (such as doing sex work or selling drugs), twice the homelessness, 85% more incarceration, and more negative health outcomes, such as more than double the HIV infection rate and nearly double the rate of current drinking or drug misuse to cope with mistreatment, compared to those who were employed.

• Respondents who had lost a job due to bias also experienced ruinous consequences such as four times the rate of homelessness, 70% more current drinking or misuse of drugs to cope with mistreatment, 85% more incarceration, more than double the rate working in the underground economy, and more than double the HIV infection rate, compared to those who did not lose a job due to bias.

• One-fifth (19%) reported experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives because they were transgender or gender non-conforming; the majority of those trying to access a homeless shelter were harassed by shelter staff or residents (55%), 29% were turned away altogether, and 22% were sexually assaulted by residents or staff.

• Respondents reported less than half the national rate of home ownership: 32% reported owning their home compared to 67% of the general population.

• Respondents who have experienced homelessness were highly vulnerable to mistreatment in public settings, police abuse and negative health outcomes.

• Fifty-three percent (53%) of respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies.

• Respondents experienced widespread abuse in the public sector, and were often abused at the hands of “helping” professionals and government officials.

• One fifth (22%) were denied equal treatment by a government agency or official; 29% reported police harassment or disrespect; and 12% had been denied equal treatment or harassed by judges or court officials.

• Of those who have transitioned gender, only one-fifth (21%) have been able to update all of their IDs and records with their new gender. One-third (33%) of those who had transitioned had updated none of their IDs/records.

• Only 59% reported updating the gender on their driver’s license/state ID, meaning 41% live without ID that matches their gender identity.

• Forty percent (40%) of those who presented ID (when it was required in the ordinary course of life) that did not match their gender identity/expression reported being harassed, 3% reported being attacked or assaulted, and 15% reported being asked to leave.

• Forty-three percent (43%) maintained most of their family bonds, while 57% experienced significant family rejection.


Source: National Transgender Discrimination Survey/National Transgender Center for Equality