Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Trans Discrimination: New Analysis from the National Trans Discrimination Survey

Today, NCTE, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) released new analysis on Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander (API) trans people, a supplement to the groundbreaking National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Even given the unconscionable levels of discrimination and violence against transgender people in the United States, Asian and Pacific Islander (API) trans people experience heightened levels of discrimination and had worse outcomes than the sample overall. API transgender people faced the combination of anti-transgender bias with structural and interpersonal racism.

“These findings underscore the importance of recognizing that API transgender people are a significant and too often marginalized part of both API and LGBT communities, and a community that faces substantial and sometimes unique challenges,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “And the broader racial justice analysis has too often excluded APIs. This research contributes to our long-held belief that policy makers must understand and act on the deep disparities that exist within people of color communities.”

“From employment discrimination to education to health care disparities, Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander transgender people are suffering at high rates due to bigotry, racism and transphobia,” says Anjali Chaudhry, who serves on the board of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. “This is unacceptable. NQAPIA is committed to bringing visibility to these inequities and to creating a world where transgender and gender non-conforming people can go about their daily lives without fear of discrimination, harassment or violence.”

Some key findings include:

  • API transgender people had a high unemployment rate at 12 percent, nearly twice the rate of the general population at the time the survey was fielded (7 percent).
  • API transgender people often live in extreme poverty, with 18 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This is higher than the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), six times the general API population rate (3 percent) and over four times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent).
  • API respondents who attended school as transgender people reported alarming rates of harassment (65 percent), physical assault (39 percent) and sexual assault (19 percent) in K-12; harassment was so severe that it led 11 percent to leave school. Six percent were also expelled due to bias.
  • Nearly 5 percent of API transgender people reported being HIV-positive and an additional 10 percent reported that they did not know their status.
  • Forty-four percent (44%) of API transgender and gender non-conforming people have experienced significant family acceptance. Those respondents who were accepted by their families were much less likely to face discrimination.

“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 API transgender people,” says Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “This report is a critical call to action. We must ensure that we continue to work toward an LGBT movement that prioritizes immigration, racial and economic justice.”

Read the full report in EnglishChinese(traditional), HindiKoreanTagalogTamil and Vietnamese.

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