New Report Highlights Struggles for Trans Latina Immigrants

The TransLatin@ Coalition recently released a new report titled “TransVisible: Transgender Latina Immigrants in U.S. Society,”  which is based on the Coalition’s survey of 101 transgender Latina immigrants around the country.  The report summarizes the results of the survey, highlights the challenges that trans Latina immigrants face, and makes recommendations for changes in laws, policies, programs, and attitudes.

The report revealed that challenges related to ID documents, education, employment, health care services, and interpersonal/structural violence have profound impacts on the lives of transgender Latina immigrants.

Although 99% of survey participants said they had better opportunities in the US than in their country of origin, the survey showed that they still face horrendous levels of discrimination in the US because of their gender identity.  The statistics on their experiences in the US are bleak. Nearly 80% of respondents expressed moderate or extreme difficulty in obtaining documentation that reflected their names and gender identities. Only half reported being employed, and only nine percent stated that they were medically insured through their employment. And about 70% said they knew another transgender Latina immigrant who had been murdered.

These statistics confirm and expand upon the results of our National Transgender Discrimination Study (NTDS), which found that Latino/a transgender people often live in extreme poverty with 28% reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This is nearly double the rate for transgender people of all races (15%), over five times the general Latino/a community rate (5%), and seven times the general U.S. community rate (4%). For Latina transgender non-citizens, the percentage is even higher.

In outlining their recommendations, The TransLatin@ Coalition stressed the importance of training a wide variety of service providers to be culturally competent and respectful toward all transgender people.  The report also called on employers and health care providers to improve their treatment of transgender workers and patients to improve their quality of life.  Lastly, the report notes the need for further research and data collection on transgender Latina immigrants, so we can continue to improve and understand the lives of transgender Latina immigrants.  As one survey respondent profoundly stated, “As human[s], [we] have the right to express [ourselves] without fear in every aspect of [our lives].”

NCTE commends The TransLatin@ Coalition for releasing this important report and hopes that studies like this continue to inform key stakeholders and improve the lives of all transgender people.  Check out The TransLatin@ Coalition’s report here.  You can also read more about immigration reform and transgender people more generally in NCTE’s report.

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