Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released new data outlining the outsized economic impact of COVID-19 on the transgender community. The research, released in partnership with PSB Research, builds on prior data showing that LGBTQ people are disproportionately impacted economically by the pandemic, and shows transgender people - especially transgender people of color - are more likely to have become unemployed due to the virus, are far more likely to have had their work hours reduced, and more likely to have asked for delays in paying their rent or bills.

“This new data makes clear that the economic fallout from COVID-19 has hit the transgender community especially hard,” said HRC President Alphonso David.  “For transgender people of color, the systemic barriers in employment, housing and health care compound the hardship faced by so many during this pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ people, particularly transgender people and people of color, reinforces that we cannot protect public health without equality for all.”

The data shows that:

  • 54% of transgender people and 58% of transgender people of color have had their work hours reduced due to COVID-19, compared to 30% of LGBTQ people and 23% of the general population.
  • 27% of transgender people and 37% of transgender people of color have had a pay cut due to COVID-19, compared to 10% of LGBTQ people and 7% of the general population.
  • 29% of transgender people and 31% of transgender people of color have had to take unpaid leave due to COVID-19, compared to 15% of LGBTQ people and 7% of the general population.
  • 27% of transgender people and 30% of transgender people of color have been forced to switch part-time due to COVID-19, compared to 8% of LGBTQ people and 5% of the general population.
  • 19% of transgender people and 26% of transgender people of color have become unemployed due to COVID-19, compared to 17% of LGBTQ people and 12% of the general population.

These economic realities have led to financial challenges many transgender people.

  • 32% of transgender people and 51% of transgender people of color have had to change their household budget due to COVID-19, compared to 30% of LGBTQ people and 26% of the general population.
  • 59% of transgender people and 67% of transgender people of color are very concerned they cannot pay their bills on debt (other than mortgages), compared to 20% of LGBTQ people and 15% of the general population.

It is important to recognize that the term “people of color” does not begin to articulate the differences in experiences among individuals of various races and/or ethnicities. We cannot forget that data have shown that Black people have been far more negatively impacted by COVID-19 on a health and economic level than others. As these data collection efforts by HRC and PSB Research continue, we will be able to understand the realities of all our communities with greater detail and accuracy.

Unfortunately, poor data collection, however, has limited our understanding of the impact of this epidemic on transgender Americans. Last month, more than 100 lawmakers called for the Trump administration to collect data on LGBTQ COVID-19 patients.

The new data comes the same day as the HRC Foundation and the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition release “Finding Financial Stability During Turbulent Times,” a new resource providing steps LGBTQ people can take to navigate economic challenges. In addition to information on unemployment benefits, federal payments and recommendations for raising funds, the document also provides important information for dealing with contraction of COVID-19.

"The research conducted by the HRC and PSB underscores the negative impact the COVID 19 pandemic has had on Black trans people,” said Carter Brown, Founder and Executive Director of Black Transmen, Inc. “Many Black trans people are experiencing a time of heightened suffering as they are pushed further into the peripheral and unable to acquire their basic needs.  Black trans people are simultaneously also fighting racial discrimination, transphobia and trying to stay healthy during the pandemic.  At this point, any kind of relief has an overdue welcoming.”

The toxic impact of transphobia and racism present in this data reflects a broader reality facing transgender people of color, especially Black transgender women. So far this year, at least 12 transgender people, mostly Black transgender women, have been killed.

Over the last several weeks alone, several Black transgender people have been the victims of violence, two of whom lost their lives due to fatal attacks. Last week, HRC learned of two tragic deaths in June. Riah Milton, a 25-year-old Black transgender woman, was killed in Liberty Township, Ohio, on June 9. Dominique Rem’mie Fells, a 27 year old Black transgender woman, was killed in Philadelphia on June 7. Tony McDade, a Black transgender man killed in Tallahassee, Florida by police on May 27. In early May, Nina Pop, a Black transgender woman, was tragically killed in Missouri. Iyanna Dior was brutally beaten by a mob at a Minneapolis gas station. Dior, fortunately, survived the attack.

The new data and resource builds on HRC’s previously released reports, “The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ Community,” and “The Lives and Livelihoods of Many in the LGBTQ Community are at Risk Amidst COVID-19 Crisis,” published in March and April. In June, HRC released “The Impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ Communities of Color,” which documented the heightened risk of LGBTQ people of color in facing negative economic consequences from the pandemic.


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