Press

New analysis shows startling levels of discrimination against Black transgender people

Date: 
September 16, 2011

MEDIA CONTACTS:
NBJC: Katina Parker, 818.692.3300, katina.nbjc@gmail.com
Task Force: Inga Sara-Sorensen, 646.358.1463, isorensen@thetaskforce.org
NCTE: Vincent Paolo Villano, 202.903.0112, vvillano@transequality.org

Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey

New analysis shows startling levels of discrimination against Black transgender people

Download the fact sheet

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 — Black transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people according to a new analysis released today, Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

This report by the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is a supplement to the groundbreaking national study, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which was published in February and revealed widespread discrimination experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming people across the board.

Discrimination was pervasive for the entire sample, but anti-transgender bias coupled with structural racism meant that transgender people of color experienced particularly devastating levels of discrimination, with Black respondents often faring worse than all others. Among the key findings of the analysis released today:

  • Black transgender people had an extremely high unemployment rate at 26 percent, two times the rate of the overall transgender sample and four times the rate of the general population.
  • A startling 41 percent of Black respondents said they had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, more than five times the rate of the general U.S. population.
  • Black transgender people lived in extreme poverty with 34 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000 per year. This is more than twice the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), four times the general Black population rate (9 percent), and eight times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent).
  • Black transgender people were affected by HIV in devastating numbers. More than one-fifth of respondents were living with HIV (20.23 percent), compared to a rate of 2.64 percent for transgender respondents of all races, 2.4 percent for the general Black population, and 0.60 percent of the general U.S. population.

"From education to employment and housing discrimination, from police brutality to health care disparities, Black transgender people are suffering at extremely high rates due to bigotry and transphobia," said National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks. "Nearly half of all Black transgender respondents report being harassed at work and at school. Twenty-six percent are unemployed and 34 percent report annual incomes of less than $10,000 per year. These numbers are appalling and these living conditions are unacceptable for any human being "gender conforming or not. NBJC is committed to bringing visibility to the gross inequities faced by our transgender brothers and sisters, and to creating a world where gender non-conforming individuals can work, love and seek medical attention without fear of discrimination, harassment or violence."

Also among the findings:

  • Half of Black respondents who attended school expressing a transgender identity or gender non-conformity reported facing harassment.
  • Nearly half (49 percent) of Black respondents reported having attempted suicide.
  • On a positive note, many Black transgender people who were out to their families reported that their families were as strong as before they came out. Black respondents reported this experience at a higher rate than the overall sample of transgender respondents.

"This report is a critical call to action for our policymakers to confront these horrifying realities by enacting protections without hesitation," said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "The stark truth is that the multi-layered effects of poverty, race and class discrimination are devastating for Blacks. These findings show just how profoundly harmful it is when discrimination based on gender identity is also in the mix. These data make it clear that racial and economic justice are among the most critical issues facing LGBT people."

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said, "This report confirms what we've long known to be true: being transgender and Black in the United States presents unique challenges on the path to full equality. This problem is deeply important to me and to NCTE where every day we hear from transgender people of color who survive in the face of racism and transphobia. This report should be a lesson to all of us that a world with transgender equality is a world with racial equality."

Findings from Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey spotlight the vital need for social justice advocates to address a racial and an LGBT dimension within their social justice work. The analysis is a resource for those advocating for policy changes at every level of government.

Download: Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey

Download: Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a national civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Since 2003, NBJC has provided leadership at the intersection of mainstream civil rights groups and mainstream LGBT organizations, advocating for the unique challenges and needs of the African American LGBT community that are often relegated to the sidelines. NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully empowered to participate safely, openly and honestly in family, faith and community, regardless of race, gender identity or sexual orientation.

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. By empowering transgender people and our allies to educate and influence policymakers and others, NCTE facilitates a strong and clear voice for transgender equality in our nation's capital and around the country. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)(3) organization.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the ground up. The Task Force is the country's premier social justice organization fighting to improve the lives of LGBT people and working to create positive, lasting change and opportunity for all. The Task Force is a 501(c)(3) corporation incorporated in Washington, D.C. Contributions to the Task Force are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. (C) 2011, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 1325 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C., 20005. Phone 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284. theTaskForce@theTaskForce.org.