Study shows high rate of discrimination against transgender people in Texas

Posted on 16 Oct 2012 at 12:12pm

Mara Keisling

Transgender Texans generally face even higher levels of discrimination than transgender people nationwide, according to a state-level breakout from a national study conducted last year.

Equality Texas and the Transgender Education Network of Texas released the state-level figures Tuesday from the study by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality. The full national study is available online, and results from the Texas study are below. The national study included 266 Texas respondents.

In Texas, transgender people faced higher rates of harassment and assault in school. Nationally, 78 percent reported being harassed, but in Texas 85 percent faced harassment. Physical assault was also higher in the state at 46 percent compared to 35 percent nationally. Sexual assault in school was comparable at 12 percent nationally and 9 percent in Texas.

Texas doesn’t have LGBT-inclusive employment nondiscrimination or anti-bullying laws. The state’s hate crimes law covers gays and lesbians but not transgender people.

Equality Texas called the rates of workplace discrimination in the state “alarming.” Chuck Smith, Equality Texas interim executive director, said the report graphically demonstrates the discrimination faced by transgender Texans.

“In our state, where the right of self-determination is so valued, it is unconscionable that anyone would be denied the ability to earn a living, to live where they choose or to be educated,” Smith said. “Equality Texas calls on the members of the Texas Legislature to join us in working to ensure that all Texans are given the ability to live as their authentic selves.”

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said some states have made a lot of progress toward ensuring safety, jobs and homes for transgender people. But she said “this research points out persistent gaps in the fair and equal treatment of transgender people.”

According to the report:

• Workplace discrimination in the transgender community is pervasive, according to the study. Nationally, 90 percent reported reported harassment, discrimination or mistreatment on the job. Both nationally and in Texas, 26 percent said they were fired because of their gender identity or expression. In Texas, 79 percent experienced harassment or mistreatment on the job, including 22 percent who were denied a promotion.

• Of those responding to the survey, 19 percent nationally and 16 percent in Texas reported being denied healthcare because of their gender identity. Both nationally and in Texas, 19 percent postponed medical care because of discrimination.

• The national suicide rate is 1.6 percent among the general population, but among survey respondents nationally and in Texas, 41 percent attempted suicide.

• Housing discrimination was slightly less pervasive than the national average of 19 percent having been refused a home or apartment and 11 percent being evicted because of their gender identity or expression nationally. In Texas, 15 percent were denied a home or apartment and 8 percent evicted.

• Nationally, 19 percent reported experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives. In Texas, 17 percent had become homeless because of gender identity.

• In public accommodations and services, Texas ranks slightly better than the national average. Nationally, 53 percent reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in public places while only 47 percent reported that in Texas. Police harassment or disrespect was reported at 29 percent nationally and 23 percent in Texas.

• In courts, Texas does not rank as well. Nationally, only 12 percent were denied equal treatment or harassed by judges or court officials, but in Texas that figure was 16 percent. That could partially be explained by barriers to changing birth records in Texas that other states facilitate.

Results from the Texas breakout of the study are below:

TEXAS RESULTS Tran Discrimination Survey 2012

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