Survey Shows Transgender, Nonbinary People Suffer Financial Strife, Stigma

By   |  February 8, 2024

By Robin Foster HealthDay Reporter  |  Copyright © 2024 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

THURSDAY, Feb. 8, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Preliminary data from the largest survey examining the quality of life for transgender and nonbinary Americans show they suffer high levels of unemployment and harassment.

In the early findings, released Wednesday, the National Center for Transgender Equality gathered responses on 600 questions from more than 92,000 transgender and nonbinary Americans, age 16 and up, from every state in the country.

This latest survey, conducted in late 2022, drew more than three times as many respondents as there were in 2015, the last time the survey was conducted.

“You don’t see data sets like this,” survey leader Sandy James said during a media briefing, the New York Times reported. “Tens of thousands of trans people knew that it was imperative that they make their voices heard.”

What did they want Americans to hear?

Many respondents reported daunting financial challenges. Eighteen percent said they were unemployed, much higher than the national rate, and one-third said they had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. More than one-quarter reported not seeing a doctor when they needed to in the previous year because of cost.

But financial problems were not their only burden to bear: Nearly a third said they had been verbally harassed in the previous year, while 3% said they were physically attacked in the last year because of their gender identity.

Still, they also shared positive experiences. Nearly 94 percent said they were more satisfied with their lives since transitioning. Among those receiving hormones, 98 percent said the treatments had made them more satisfied with life.

Since the 2015 survey, state legislatures have enacted restrictions on transgender health care for minors and adults, bathroom access, school sports participation and gender identification on legal documents. State legislatures are now considering nearly 400 such bills, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Times reported.

That anxious reality surfaced in the findings: Nearly half of the 2022 survey respondents noted they had considered moving in the previous year because of restrictive bills passed or introduced in their state, while 5 percent had actually moved. Forty-four percent reported serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days.

“A steady condition, environment, has been created in which people are not able to thrive,” James said during the briefing. “And trans people are trying to move through their lives, as anyone else in the United States wants to do.”

The 2022 survey was the first to include respondents ages 16 and 17, and they comprised more than 8,000 of the total respondents.

What struggles did these teenaged respondents report?

Sixty percent suffered mistreatment at school, as well as being barred from using their chosen names, pronouns or the bathroom matching their gender identity. Minors were also more likely than adults to say they had relatives who were not supportive of their gender identity, with 5 percent adding that family members had been violent toward them because they were transgender.

More information

Johns Hopkins Medicine has more on transgender health.

SOURCE: National Center for Transgender Equality, news release, Feb. 8, 2024; New York Times