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Being transgender or transsexual.
Gender dysphoria, & gender identity

Studies of employment discrimination
against transgender persons

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In 2009, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund prepared a document titled: "Passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act: A toolkit."

The Task Force has formed a coalition with many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups in order to promote the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (2009). The groups include the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Pride at Work, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and a number of other colleague organizations. 1

The toolkit contains the following data from studies of employment discrimination against -- and financial hardship of -- transgender persons.

Statistics on Employment Discrimination Against Transgender People

Discrimination against transgender people is widespread:

bulletNationally: A study conducted between 1996 and 1997 found that 37 percent of transgender individuals surveyed had experienced employment discrimination. 2
bullet Illinois: A study conducted between 1995 and 2001 found that 37-42 percent of gender-variant individuals surveyed experienced some type of
employment discrimination. 3
bulletSan Francisco, CA: A 2006 survey of 194 members of the San Francisco transgender community found:
bullet 40 percent of respondents believed they were discriminated against when applying for work.
bullet Over 24 percent of people reported that they were sexually harassed at work.
bullet 19 percent experienced trouble in advancing in their company or department.
bullet18 percent were fired from a job due to gender identity discrimination. 4
bullet Virginia: A study conducted between 2005 and 2006 reported that 20 percent of transgender individuals were denied employment and 13 percent fired based on their gender identity. 5
bullet Washington state: A study conducted between 2006 and 2007 found that 41.5 percent of transgender people surveyed had been denied employment, fired, or otherwise discriminated against on the job because of their gender identity and/or expression. 6

Economic hardship of many Transgender People

Employment discrimination contributes to low incomes for transgender/transsexual persons:

bullet Minnesota: A study conducted between 1997 and 2002 found that 22 percent of transgender people live below the poverty line. 7
bullet San Francisco, CA: A study conducted in 2006 of 194 transgender individuals found a 35 percent unemployment rate, with 59 percent earning less than $15,300 annually. 8
bullet Philadelphia, PA: A study conducted in 1997 found that of 81 transgender people, 59 percent were unemployed and 56 percent made less than $15,000 annually. 9
bullet Chicago, IL: A study conducted between 2000 and 2001 found that of 111 transgender individuals, 34 percent were unemployed and an additional 40
percent made less than $20,000 annually, with a median income of just $16,900 a year -- less than half the national median income. 10
bullet Los Angeles, CA: A 1998?1999 study of transgender women found that 50 percent reported incomes of less than $12,000 per year, and 23 percent depended on government assistance. 11
bulletWashington, D.C.: In 1999, only 58 percent of transgender respondents were employed, 29 percent reported no annual source of income, 31 percent
reported that their annual income was under $10,000, and 15 percent reported that they lost a job due to employment discrimination. 12
bullet Virginia: A 2005?2006 study of 250 transgender people found between 9-24 percent were unemployed and 39 percent made $17,000 or less annually. 13
bullet Washington state: A 2006-2007 study of 258 transgender people found that 39 percent of those surveyed made less that $20,000 annually. 14

Related essay:

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References used:

  1. "Passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act: A toolkit," National Gay and Lesbian Task force Action Fund, 2009, at: This is a PDF file.
  2. Lombardi, E.L., Wilkins, R.A., Priesing, D, Malouf, D. (2001). Gender Violence: Trans-gender Experiences with Violence and Discrimination. Journal of Homosexuality.
  3. Plotner, B., Stevens-Miller, M., Wood-Sievers, T. (Spring 2002). Discrimination 2002: 6th Report on Discrimination and Hate Crimes Against Gender Variant People. Chicago: It's Time Illinois!.
  4. (2006). Good Jobs NOW! A Snap Shot of the Economic Health of San Francisco?s Transgender Communities. A survey from: San Francisco Bay and
    Guardian and Transgender Law Center.
  5. Xavier, J.M., Hannold, J.A., Bradford, J., Simmons, R. (2007). The Health, Health-related Needs, and Lifecourse Experiences of Transgender Virginians. Richmond: Division of Disease Prevention through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia Department of Health.
  6. (2008). Perspectives Northwest Survey Report: Transgender and Gender Variant Community Needs Assessment Survey. Ingersoll Gender Center.
  7. Bockting, W., Huang, c., Ding, H., Robinson, B., Rosser, S. (2005). Are  Transgender Persons at Higher Risk for HIV Than Other Sexual Minorities? A
    Comparison of HIV Prevalence and Risks. International Journal of Transgenderism
  8. Op. Cit.: (2006) Good Jobs NOW!
  9. Kenagy, G.P. (2005). The Health and Social Service Needs of Transgender People in Philadelphia. International Journal of Transgenderism.
  10. Kenagy, G. P., Bostwick, W.B. (2005) . Health and Social Service Needs of Trans-gender People in Chicago. International Journal of Transgenderism.
  11. Op. Cit.: Reback, C.J. [sic]
  12. Xavier, J.M. (2000). The Washington, DC. Transgender Needs Assessment Survey Final Report for Phase Two. Washington, DC: Administration for HIV/AIDS of the District of Columbia. at: (accessed April 2007).
  13. Ibid: Xavier, J.M., Hannold, J.A.
  14. Op. Cit. (2008) Perspectives.

The toolkit is copyright © 2009 by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund. The Fund "... encourages, and grants permission to, reproduce and distribute their guide 1 in whole or in part, provided that it is done so with attribution."

Originally posted: 2009-AUG-08
Latest update: 2009-AUG-22
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