Working While Trans: Fast New Facts

In the second of our series, here’s FORGE’s new fact sheet pulling together key employment-related statistics from the new NCTE/NGLTF study, “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.”

Getting and staying on the job

  • Transgender and gender non-conforming respondents experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general public
  • Over one-quarter (26%) reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming
    • MTFs:  36%
    • FTMs:  19%
    • 47%  have experienced an adverse job outcome, “such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming”


On-the-job harassment

  • 78%  have experienced at least one negative workplace consequence
  • 50%  have been harassed by someone at work
  • 41%  have been asked inappropriate questions about their transgender or surgical status on the job
  • 7%  have been victims of physical violence at work
  • 6%  have been sexually assaulted at work
    • Undocumented noncitizens reported an on-the-job sexual assault rate of 19%



  • 44%  said they were underemployed


Invisible employees and co-workers

  • 28%  said none of their co-workers knew they were transgender
  • 68%  of cross-dressers said no one at work knew they cross-dressed



  • Of those who have transitioned gender, only one-fifth (21%) have been able to update all of their IDs and records with their new gender
  • One third (33%) of those who have transitioned had updated no records
  • 41%  have a driver’s license/state ID card that doesn’t match their gender identity
    • With updated driver’s license: 52% employment discrimination
    • Without updated driver’s license:  64% employment discrimination
    • 49%  of those who have transitioned genders have updated their Social Security records
    • 12%  of those who have tried to change the gender on their professional license or credential were denied



  • 14%  of those who transitioned on the job and kept their job were nonetheless denied access to the correct bathroom


Spouses/partners and children

  • 14%  reported that due to their gender identity, their spouse or partner experienced job discrimination
    • If the transgender person lost their job due to bias, the spouse’s risk of experiencing his or her own job discrimination doubled, to 28%
    • 11%  reported that due to their gender identity, their child experienced job discrimination
      • If the transgender person lost their job due to bias, the child’s risk of experiencing his or her own job discrimination more than doubled, to 25%


Underground economy

  • 16%  of trans people have worked in the underground economy
  • 11%  have done sex work (compared to an estimated 1% of all US women)
    • 15%  of MTFs have done sex work
    • 7%  of FTMs
    • 44%  of African-Americans
    • 28%  of Latino/as
    • 6%  of those with graduate degrees
    • 29%  of those who have experienced domestic violence
    • 61%  of those who have done sex work, drug sales or other underground work “also say that they had experienced discrimination in hiring in the traditional workforce.”


The good news

  • The vast majority (78%) of those who transitioned from one gender to the other reported that they felt more comfortable at work and their job performance improved
  • Although transgender and gender non-conforming people ages 18-24 are less likely than their peers to be in school, 22% of those ages 25-44 are currently in school (compared to 7% of the same-age general population)
  • Survey respondents had a higher average educational level than the general public (47% had a college or graduate degree, compared to 27% of the general population)

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