Transgender individuals generally lack the same civil rights as their cisgender counterparts. Moreover, they face vast instability due to the fact that their identities and bodies are highly politicized and their personhood is continually a point of debate in government.

Here are some of the key issues faced by transgender individuals today:

Lack of Legal Protections

Only 19 states currently include gender identity and expression in their anti-discrimination laws. No laws currently exist at the Federal level. While the Obama Administration interpreted gender to include gender identity and expression, the current administration has made it clear they will not do so. Several Federal courts have upheld the previous administration’s interpretation, but it is unclear how easy it will be for transgender individuals to work with the Federal government.

Anti-Transgender Legislation

All across the United States, state legislatures are discussing bills which would restrict civil rights for transgender Americans. Two states have already passed such legislation. Other legislation has been passed allowing discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community by adoption agencies.

Violence and Murder

In 2015, 25 transgender women in the United States were brutally murdered, and 2016 was just as deadly for the transgender community with 27 deaths. Already in 2017, the trend promises to hold. Currently, 6 transgender individuals have been murdered.

  • Transgender women have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered
  • Transgender women of color have a 1 in 8 chance of being murdered
  • 49% of transgender individuals report physical abuse
  • 59% of transgender students report being bullied (30% of cisgender students report bullying)
  • 50% of transgender individuals have been raped or assaulted
  • 41% of transgender people attempt suicide

Barriers to Healthcare

Even though all major medical and mental health organizations recommend hormone therapy and affirming surgeries, these treatments are not covered by health insurance.

  • HIV: 4 x s the general population
  • Alcohol: 2xs more likely
  • Marijuana: 3xs more likely
  • Cocaine/crack: 8xs more likely
  • Mental Health Disorders: 3xs more likely
  • 50% of transgender individuals have to educate their healthcare providers
  • 1 in 4 delayed treatment for fear of discrimination
  • 19% were denied care

Barriers in Education, Housing, and Employment

The majority of Americans live in states which do not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and expression or sexual orientation. Youth are especially vulnerable.

  • 80% of transgender students feel unsafe at school
  • 28% drop out of school
  • 84% experience sexual harassment at school
  • 55% experience physical violence at school
  • 20 – 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ+ (the majority are people of color)
  • 10-21% of transgender people face housing discrimination
  • 30% of transgender women have been incarcerated
  • 26-39% of transgender people have faced workplace discrimination

Take the next module: Strategic Steps, Righting Wrongs ›


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