In a society that struggles to drop its rigid views of what gender means, the sexual orientations and identities of trans individuals are often tied with discrimination and abuse. In the country’s most in-depth survey of transgender people in the U.S., the National Center for Transgender Equality has underlined the ways in which Latinx members suffer most. While the majority of Latinx participants in the survey were American citizens, 3 percent were made up of permanent residents, 2 percent were undocumented residents, 1 percent were visa holders and DACA recipients made up another 1 percent. All surveyed resided within the 48 states, the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico.
Results from the study found that participants who identified as Latinx and trans had a rate of unemployment that was three times higher than the national average.
Twenty-one percent of surveyed trans Latinx people reported being unemployed, while 12 percent of white trans people surveyed reported the same. Meanwhile, 43 percent of Latinx individuals in the survey reported living in poverty, compared to 12 percent of the general U.S. population.
The report also turned up with appalling findings concerning community and government outreach to the Latinx transgender population.
According to the survey, 59 percent of Latinx participants reported feeling somewhat to very uncomfortable asking the police for help. And it’s no wonder why, considering 66 percent also reported experiencing mistreatment by police or some other form of law enforcement officials in the past year alone. Outside of the survey, the Human Rights Campaign reported 25 murdered transgender people in 2017. What’s more, a 2016 Human Rights Watch report revealed that immigration detention centers often place trans Latinas in male facilities. There the women regularly face aggressions such as sexual assault, harassment and even the denial of HIV treatment and hormone replacement therapy.
Numbers from the survey are not only harrowing to look at but also extremely telling of the amount of progress needed in our country. They also give us insight into how these stressful conditions affect the community. Forty-five percent of those who had been surveyed for the National Center for Transgender Equality report said that in the month leading up to the survey they had experienced extreme psychological distress caused by the stressors discussed in the survey.