Taking It on the Chin: New Fast Facts about Violence Against Transgender People

In February 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released the largest-ever survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (available at http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf).  Nearly 6,500 responded to this wide-ranging questionnaire.  Here are some highlights relating to the violence faced by transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Abuse at home and at school

  • 19%  have experienced domestic violence at the hands of a family member because of their transgender identity or gender non-conformity
    • MTFs are more likely to experience family violence than FTMs (22% to 15%)
  • Of those who expressed a transgender identity or gender non-conformity while in grades K-12…
    • 78%  experienced harassment 
      • 31% experienced harassment from teachers or staff
  • 35%  experienced physical assault 
    • 5% were physically assaulted by teachers or staff
  • 12%  experienced sexual violence 
    • 3% were sexually assaulted by teachers or staff
    • MTFs were more often sexually assaulted (15%), compared to FTMs (10%)
  • 6%  were expelled for their gender identity/expression
  • 50%  have experienced harassment by someone at work
  • 7%  have been physically assaulted on the job
  • 6%  have been sexually assaulted at work
    • Undocumented noncitizens have 3 times the risk (19%)

Workplace violence

  • 50%  have experienced harassment by someone at work
  • 7%  have been physically assaulted on the job
  • 6%  have been sexually assaulted at work
    • Undocumented noncitizens have 3 times the risk (19%)

Public services

  • 8%  of transgender and gender non-conforming people report having been physically attacked or assaulted in doctor’s offices, buses, government agencies, retail stores, and other public venues
  • Of those who presented identification (when it was required in the ordinary course of life) that did not match their gender identity/expression, 15% were asked to leave and 3% were attacked or assaulted

Police

  • 29%  of transgender and gender non-conforming people reported being harassed or treated disrespectfully by police officers
    • Transgender people of color reported much higher rates
    • 20%  were denied equal services
    • 6%  were physically assaulted by police officers

Homeless shelters

  • Of transgender and gender non-conforming people who tried to use homeless shelters…
    • 55%  reported being harassed at the shelter by other residents or staff
    • 47%  left due to poor treatment
    • 42%  were forced to stay in facilities designated for a gender with which they did not identify
      • 35% of those who had surgically transitioned were still housed with those of a gender they did not identify with
  • 29%  were turned away altogether (MTFs: 34%, FTMs: 20%)
  • 25%  were physically assaulted at the shelter by other residents or staff (MTFs: 29%, FTMs: 15%)
  • 25%  were evicted when their gender identity became known
  • 22%  were sexually assaulted at the shelter by other residents or staff (MTFs: 26%, FTMs: 15%)

Anti-violence services

  • Of transgender and gender non-conforming people who tried to access rape crisis centers or domestic violence services…
    • 5-6%  reported unequal treatment
    • 4%  experienced verbal harassment or disrespect
    • 1%  were physically assaulted there
    • Of those transgender and gender non-conforming people who experienced domestic violence…
      • 65% had attempted suicide, compared to 32% of those who had not been abused
      • 48% experienced homelessness, a rate four times higher than those who were not abused (9%)
      • 47% reported drinking or using drugs to cope with mistreatment, compared to 19% of those who had not been abused
      • 29% had engaged in sex work, a rate four times higher than those who were not abused (7%)

Intersectionality

  • Of those transgender and gender non-conforming people who experienced domestic violence…
    • 65% had attempted suicide, compared to 32% of those who had not been abused
    • 48% experienced homelessness, a rate four times higher than those who were not abused (9%)
    • 47% reported drinking or using drugs to cope with mistreatment, compared to 19% of those who had not been abused
    • 29% had engaged in sex work, a rate four times higher than those who were not abused (7%)

“Transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice at every turn: in childhood homes, in school systems that promise to shelter and educate, in harsh and exclusionary workplaces, at the grocery store, the hotel front desk, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, before judges and at the hands of landlords, police officers, health care workers and other service providers.”

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