Transgender People Face “Injustice at Every Turn”

The National Center for Transgender Equity (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force recently released “Injustice at Every Turn,” an  extensive study of the transgender and gender non-conforming community that shows tragic social and economic trends indicating injustices and discrimination against transgender people on a massive scale. 

The survey of more than 6,500 transgender and gender non-conforming people across the United States revealed that those of this identity are nearly four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, twice as likely to be unemployed, twice as likely to be homeless, and almost 40 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.  At least two-thirds of the survey population had experienced at least one serious act of discrimination that affected them on a long-term basis.

 Other key findings:

  • Harassment was reported by 78 percent of transgender/gender non-conforming students in grades K-12. 
  • Almost 15 percent of transgender/non-conforming students reported leaving school because of severe levels of harassment.
  • Of those surveyed, 90 percent reported harassment or discrimination in the work place, or took measures to hide their identity to avoid it.
  • Over a quarter of survey respondents experienced the loss of a job due to their sexual identity.
  • One-fifth of respondents reported having experienced homelessness at some point due to their transgender/gender non-conforming identity. Many reported being harassed by homeless shelter staff and/or residents.
  • Discrimination was reported in a variety of settings, including schools, retail stores, prisons, restaurants, doctor’s offices and hospitals, government agencies, mental health clinics and rape crisis centers. 
  • Structural racism combined with anti-transgender discrimination drastically hindered the African-American transgendered community, who tended to fare worse than other races in virtually all areas.

“Reading these results is heartbreaking on a personal level—each of these facts and figures represents pain and hardship endured by real people, every single day. This survey is a call to the conscience of every American who believes that everyone has the right to a fair chance to work hard, to have a roof overhead, and to support a family,” said Mara Kiesling, Executive Director of NCTE

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights believes in equal opportunity in the workplace, equal access to health care, and legal protection against hate crimes.  The Leadership Conference joined a group of more than 70 civil rights organizations in recommending a set of federal actions to prevent hate crimes and harassment based on perceived and actual sexual orientation, and supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.