DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling

The National Center for Transgender Equality recently released the largest study of the transgender community ever done.

Mara Kiesling, executive director of the NCTE, said she hoped for 10,000 people to respond. But they received almost 28,000 survey responses.

“That tells you something about the size of the community,” she said.

About 30 percent of the respondents identified as agender or gender fluid. “In general,” Kiesling said, “non-binary people experience the same violence and disrespect as transgender people.”

In Texas

The survey’s statistics show that 34 percent of trans people in Texas are living in poverty, higher than elsewhere in the country. Unemployment among the Texas trans community is four times the national average.

Some of the information from the survey just confirmed what she already knew, Kiesling said, calling Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick a bully who is putting children in the category of predators.

“If a child can’t use a bathroom at school, they can’t go to school,” she said. “And if you can’t use a bathroom at work, you can’t have a job.”

She said that should be used to shame Patrick into dropping his obsession with attacking the trans community. But, she acknowledged, “shame has never been a big part of his career.”

Kiesling said she hopes people in Texas will point out that former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a diehard supporter of that state’s infamous “bathroom bill,” was the only governor to lose a re-election last year and it was this same issue that lead to his defeat.

“You can’t use children this way,” she said.

The survey revealed other information about Texas that wasn’t good, either.

In Texas, 22 percent of respondents didn’t see a doctor when they needed to see one. Of those, 38 percent couldn’t afford to go to the doctor.

The survey looked into differences by state, but within the Texas stats, responses weren’t divided by city, and didn’t compare trans people living in cities with those in suburbs and rural areas. Kiesling said from anecdotal evidence, violence against trans people has been reported both in cities and rural areas and in some small towns, trans people do quite well. So she couldn’t generalize.

National statistics

Looking at the national statistics, violence and disrespect was reported in every aspect of trans people’s lives.

One in 10 who were out to their immediate families reported a family member was violent toward them because of their gender identity and 8 percent were kicked out of the house.

In school, those who were out or perceived as transgender were mistreated: 54 percent were verbally harassed, 24 percent were physically attacked and 13 percent were sexually assaulted. The abuse was so severe that 17 percent dropped out of school

At work, 30 percent of those with a job had been fired, denied a promotion or harassed during the previous year. Of those who were spiritual or religious, 19 percent were rejected by their religious community and left or were forced to leave.

One third of respondents have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives and 12 percent had been homeless during the last year. While 63 percent of Americans own their own homes, only 16 percent of the transgender population owns their own homes.

Trans people of color

Other forms of discrimination increase the impact on transgender people.

“If you’re facing transphobia and facing racism, have a disability or are worried about immigration status, the effects compound,” Kiesling said.

While overall results showed trans people twice as likely to live in poverty than the general American population, people of color were three times as likely to live in poverty. The unemployment rate among people of color was four times higher than the U.S. unemployment rate and the HIV rate was five times the U.S. rate.

Although insurance companies may no longer treat transgender as a pre-existing condition to deny coverage, as many as 25 percent of transgender people had trouble with their insurance over the past year because they were transgender.

Also distressing is that 40 percent of those surveyed said they had attempted suicide at some time during their lives, a rate nine times the population in general.

Yet, despite voter identification laws that make it harder for transgender people to vote, 76 percent reported they were registered compared to only 65 percent of the U.S. population in 2014. More than 54 percent reported voting in that election, compare to only 42 percent of the population that actually voted that year.