Latino/a Trans Discrimination: New Analysis from the Nat’l Trans Discrimination Survey

Today, NCTE, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) released new analysis on Latino/a trans people, a supplement to the groundbreaking National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Even given the unconscionable levels of discrimination against all transgender people in the United States, people of color including Latinos/as experienced heightened levels of discrimination and had worse outcomes than the sample overall. Racism and anti-immigrant bias played a role in these outcomes, with non-citizen Latino/a respondents often reporting even worse experiences.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling said, “This report paints a devastating picture of the treatment of our Latino and Latina transgender brothers and sisters who, on a daily basis, endure extreme poverty, unemployment and discrimination just to live out their full lives.”

Some key findings include:

  •  Latino/a transgender people had a very high unemployment rate at 20 percent, higher than the overall transgender sample (14 percent) and  nearly three times the rate of the general population at the time the survey was fielded (7 percent).
  • Latino/a transgender people often live in extreme poverty with 28 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This is nearly double the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), over five times the general Latino/a population rate (5 percent), and seven times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent). The rate for Latino/a non-citizen respondents was 43 percent.
  • Latino/a transgender people were affected by HIV in devastating numbers. One in twelve Latino/a respondents were HIV-positive and an additional 10 percent reported that they did not know their status.
  • Forty-seven percent of Latino/a respondents reported having attempted suicide.

“We have long known that race and citizenship status have a very real impact on transgender people,” said Mara Keisling, “And for the first time, we can identify in specific terms, what these painful realities are.” Other key findings include:

  • Latino/a respondents who attended school as transgender people reported alarming rates of harassment (77 percent), physical assault (36 percent), and sexual assault (13 percent) in K-12; harassment was so severe that it led 21 percent to leave school. Nine percent were also expelled due to bias.
  • Twenty-seven percent of Latino/a respondents said they had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, nearly four times the rate of the general U.S. population (7.4 percent).
  • Twenty-three percent of Latino/a transgender people reported being refused medical care due to bias.

“This study shows how devastating multiple discrimination is for Latino and Latina transgender people,” said LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “We are committed to ensuring that all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation and gender identity are respected and treated fairly.” He called on other Latino groups to speak out and address anti-trans discrimination harassment and violence, saying “We will not stand idly by in a society where equality is not within everyone’s reach.”

Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said, “The numbers make clear the way that racism, anti-immigrant and anti-transgender bias all work together, often with devastating results in the lives of Latino and Latina transgender people. We must ensure that we continue to work toward an LGBT movement that prioritizes immigration, racial and economic justice.”

NCTE has long worked to support trans immigrants, particularly advocating to ensure that the forthcoming Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) regulations apply to immigration detention centers. “Documented or not,” Keisling said, “these numbers tell us that the LGBT movement must have an immigrant-inclusive agenda.”

Read the full report in English and in Spanish.

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4 Responses to Latino/a Trans Discrimination: New Analysis from the Nat’l Trans Discrimination Survey

  1. Statistics like these show just how important it is to stop discrimination at many levels. Yesterday’s passing of laws by Howard County, MD and St. Louis, MO designed to stop unfair and unequal treatment of transgender people are a wonderful step in the right direction. I applaud those parents, friends, allies, and transgender activists who helped their communities clearly say that their expectations are fairness and justice at every turn.

    We need these two communities joined by every other community in delivering messages like that. And even after that happens, that won’t be the end of our work: we have company unclear policies; unmet medical needs; laws that lack cohesion, understanding, and common sense; and antiquated religious leaders who fail to understand that 3/4′s of their congregations have gotten God’s word to love all, including LGBTQ people.

    As shocking as these statistics are – I hope everyone reads them and is appalled. Becoming educated is a great step. The next obvious step would be doing something about things that are alarming: volunteer, speak up, lead your community by example, or write checks to those who do it well.

  2. Mara Keisling says:

    Caroline, This is Mara. Thanks for the comments. I agree. I would like to tweak one thing. The city in Missouri that passed a law last night was Columbia not St Louis.

    • Many thanks for fixing my obvious error… It was a late night last night and an early morning. And since we are fixing this list, let’s add Evansille, Ind. to the list, too, since thay also added protection last evening. 3 places in one night is so awesome and I hope an indicator of what is to come for other places soon.

  3. [...] population to make less than $10,000 per year. Latino transgender people have a poverty rate of 28 percent, which is double the rate of all transgender people (15 percent) and five times the rate of the [...]

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