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Transgender & transsexual individuals, and gender identity

2011: A national study about
transgender persons, concerning discrimination.

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poll symbol 2011: National report sub-titled: "Injustice at every turn:"

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality organized an investigation into discrimination against transgender people, and issued a report called the "National Transgender Discrimination Survey." 1 A total of 6,456 transgender and gender non-conforming individuals (GNC) from all 50 states in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands took part in the survey. 2,3

The sponsors define the term "transgender" broadly to include persons who "... transition from one gender to another (transsexuals), and ... gender queer people, cross-dressers, the androgynous, and those whose gender non-conformity (GNC) is part of their identity." 4

The survey does have a weakness: it relies on individuals self-reporting their data. Thus, it is not a random sample. They comment:

"A truly random sample of transgender and gender non-conforming people is not currently possible, as government actors that have the resources for random sampling have failed to include questions on transgender identity in their population-based research. 5

Many participants supplied their information via the Internet. According to author Don Dillman:

"The lack of Internet service for 29% of the population and high-speed service for 53% of the population is complicated by differences between those who have and do not have these services. Non-Whites, people 65+ years old, people with lower incomes, and those with less education have lower internet access rates than their counterparts, and, therefore, are more likely to be left out of Internet services." 6

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The people who participated in the survey:

  • Birth assigned gender: 60% male; 40% female.

  • Primary current gender identity: 41% female; 26% male; 20% switching; 13% other.

  • Work: 46% full time; 20% student; 16% part time; 12% self-employed 12%; 8% multiple jobs; 14% unemployed; 8% disability; 7% retired; 2% homemaker.

  • Relationship status: 36% single; 27% partnered; 22% married; 11% divorced; 3% separated; 1% civil union; 1% widowed.

  • Sexual orientation: 23% bisexual; 21% heterosexual; 21% gay/lesbian/same-gender attraction; 20% queer; 4% asexual.

  • Location: The South contains 32% of the population, but only 18% of the survey sample; New England  contains 5% of the population and 9% of the survey sample.

  • Status: 55% living full time in a gender different from their birth assigned gender; 25% not living full time in their desired gender, but want to someday; 18% do not want to live full time in a gender differ net from their birth gender.

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Survey results:

The results are stunning. Ten of the most notable results were:

  • Discrimination is pervasive among all ages, all locations, all races, etc. It is particular severe among transgender persons of color.

  • 15% live in poverty, with an income less than $10,000 a year; this is almost four times the national average.

  • 41% have attempted suicide; this is over 25 times the national average! The rate rose rose to 55% for those who lost a job because of bias, 51% for those harassed or bullied in school, 61% for victims of physical assault and 64% for victims of sexual assault.

  • 78% were harassed while in school (grades K-12); 35% were physically assaulted; 12% were victims of sexual violence. 15% left school in K-12 or higher education because of harassment.

  • 90% reported harassment, mistreatment, or discrimination at work.

  • 47% reported being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming.

  • 16% said that they had been only able to support themselves by working in the underground economy -- e.g. becoming sex workers or selling drugs.

  • 19% said they had experienced homelessness because of their gender identity or expression.

  • 55% who tried to access a homeless shelter were harassed by the staff or residents; 29% were turned away; 22% were sexually assaulted.

  • 43% had been able to maintain or restore most of their family bonds; 57% experienced significant family rejection. Most (51%) of those who were rejected by their families have attempted suicide.

  • "Older participants in the survey were much more likely to have been assigned male at birth and to be living as women, while younger respondents are more likely to have been assigned female at birth and living as male." 7

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Sponsored link:

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Conclusions of the report:

"It is part of social and legal convention in the United States to discriminate against, ridicule, and abuse transgender and gender non-conforming people within foundational institutions such as the family, schools, the workplace and health care settings, every day. Instead of recognizing that the moral failure lies in society’s unwillingness to embrace different gender identities and expressions, society blames transgender and gender non-conforming people for bringing the discrimination and violence on themselves."

"Nearly every system and institution in the United States, both large and small, from local to national, is implicated by this data. Medical providers and health systems, government agencies, families, businesses and employers, schools and colleges, police departments, jail and prison systemsâ€"each of these systems and institutions is failing daily in its obligation to serve transgender and gender non-conforming people, instead subjecting them to mistreatment ranging from commonplace disrespect to outright violence, abuse and the denial of human dignity. The consequences of these widespread injustices are human and real, ranging from unemployment and homelessness to illness and death."

"This report is a call to action for all of us, especially for those who pass laws and set policies and practices, whose action or continued inaction will make a significant difference between the current climate of discrimination and violence and a world of freedom and equality. And everyone else, from those who drive buses or teach our children to those who sit on the judicial bench or write prescriptions, must also take up the call for human rights for transgender and gender non-conforming people, and confront this pattern of abuse and injustice."

"We must accept nothing less than a complete elimination of this pervasive inhumanity; we must work continuously and strenuously together for justice." 2

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Injustice at every turn" National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2011-FEB-03, at:
  2. "Injustice at every turn" Executive summary, at: This is a PDF file.
  3. "Injustice at every turn" Full report, at: This is a PDF file.
  4. Ibid, Page 12.
  5. Ibid, Pages 13 & 14.
  6. Don Dillman, Jolene Smyth * Leah Christian, "Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method," Wiley, (2008). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  7. Op Cit, "Injustice" full report, Page 25.

Copyright © 2011 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2011-APR-22
Latest update: 2014-JUL=17
Author: B.A. Robinson

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