New Study Paints A Bleak Picture For Trans America

Forty percent of respondents have attempted suicide, nearly nine times the national average.

A new study from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) paints a sobering portrait of the state of transgender America.

With almost 28,000 respondents from all 50 states, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS) quantifies for the first time the discrimination and violence faced by transgender people.

Young man with long hair in playground

Highlights from the report include:

* 15% of respondents were unemployed, more than three times the national average. And 30% of them reported being fired, denied a promotion or some other form of discrimination in the past year relating to their gender identity.

* Nearly a third of trans people have experienced homelessness. A quarter avoided staying in shelters, fearing harassment or violence.

* Trans women are more than ten times more likely to be HIV-positive than the national average (3.4% compared to 0.3%). For black trans women, that number soared to nearly 20%.

* Most respondents were subject to harassment, or even assault, while in school. For 17%, that mistreatment was so severe they withdrew from school.

Portrait of young woman with plastered arm leaning at graffiti wall

* 59% have avoided public restrooms in the last year because they feared confrontations.

* One in ten trans people reported violence from family members they had disclosed their gender identity to.

With the Census Bureau still failing to gather statistics on gender identity, The NCTE hopes the report will help guide politicians and government agencies in making policy.

“Despite achieving some significant policy advances and increased visibility over the past few years, transgender people continue to face enormous obstacles in almost every area of their lives,” said NCTE executive director Mara Keisling.

“Discrimination and violence threaten transgender people’s ability to have even the basics—food, a place to sleep, a job… There is a lot of work ahead to achieve simple parity and full equality for transgender people.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.