In December of 2016, the National Center formTransgender Equality released results of the largest survey of transgender people conducted to date. Some of the key findings include:
Nearly half (47%) of respondents have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.
A staggering 39% of respondents were currently experiencing serious psychological distress, compared with only 5% of the U.S. population.
Nearly one-third (29%) of transgender respondents were living in poverty, compared to 14% in the U.S. population.
A major contributor to the high rate of poverty is respondents' 15% unemployment rate-three times higher that of the U.S. population at the time of the survey (5%).
Nearly one-third (30%) of respondents have been homeless at some point in their lifetime, and 12% were homeless in the year prior to completing the survey.
Mara Keisling, Executive Director of NCTE joins Robert Traynham for a discussion about Transgender Equality. Click here
for part 1 of Transgender Equality.
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Interview recorded on May 17, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham. Part 2 of 2.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: Speaking of data, it's an enormous amount of data. As I mentioned, this is a 2015 survey. But correct me if I'm wrong. This information is still pertinent today as it was, I assume, a year and a half, two years ago. And assuming that that's true, what are the lessons learned from all this data that you've received, and what are you going to do with that data on a go-forward basis?
Keisling: So, we expect to do the survey every five years.
Traynham: Why every five years?
Traynham: It's a pretty huge undertaking for a small community and a small movement and a smaller organization. And every five years, we hope to be able to see that there are changes.
Traynham: I see.
Keisling: Hopefully, the changes will be mostly in the right direction.
Traynham: I see.
Keisling: So, we hope to do it every five years. We'll do it again in 2020. The numbers are very much pertinent now. There's certain things I think have changed. For instance, the data was collected before the North Carolina bathroom conversation happened and the big conversation with America about transgender people in the bathroom. Even so, we saw in the survey that transgender people were avoiding using public restrooms because they were afraid of discrimination. We see folks who don't eat or drink in the mornings so that they won't have to use the restrooms at work.
Keisling: The big public conversation is happening now. We didn't want it, but we have it. And you know, I am anxious to see, in 2020, has it improved, has it deteriorated? We just don't know.
Traynham: Mara, based on the survey results, what is your organization focused on?
Keisling: This survey has done a really good job of helping us understand where things are now in terms of discrimination. And our policy docket -- We're largely a policy organization. Our policy docket is based on the places where the most people need the most help the most. In addition to that, while our policy work is very important -- I believe it's important, I'm very proud of it -- we also know that the most important work that anybody in our community does is telling their stories -- telling their stories to their family, their classmates, the people they worship with, et cetera. So we've developed a storytelling project. And we use the survey to identify areas where we need to increase storytelling in the country. And in fact, there was a storytelling component. In addition to the survey, we asked all 20,000 people, "Do you have a story that the public should know about?" And about 13,000, or something like that -- a lot of folks said, "Yes, I do." So we go back and we visit those stories that they gave us then, and then find those people and say, "Hey, will you tell your story more publicly? We'll help." So the survey has been phenomenal for our work.