Last week, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), along with Black Transmen Inc., Black Transwomen, and the National Black Justice Coalition, released a report detailing the experiences of black respondents who participated in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS). The USTS, released last December, is a groundbreaking report on the experiences of transgender people in the U.S.

The 2015 USTS’ sobering results found that transgender people continue to face widespread discrimination throughout daily life and last week’s follow-up report illustrates that Black transgender respondents face deeper and broader forms of discrimination than their white counterparts, are far more likely to be unemployed and poor, and living with HIV.

Among the report's findings:

  • 20 percent of Black transgender respondents were unemployed, twice the rate among Black people in the U.S. population.
  • 38 percent of Black transgender respondents were living in poverty, compared to 24 percent of Black people in the U.S. population.
  • 42 percent of Black transgender respondents have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, compared to 30 percent in the USTS sample overall, and 22 percent experienced homelessness in the past year because of being transgender.
  • 53 percent of Black respondents have been sexually assaulted at some point in their life, compared to 47 percent in the USTS sample overall.
  • 67 percent of Black respondents said they would feel somewhat or very uncomfortable asking the police for help, compared to 57 percent of respondents in the USTS sample overall.
  • 6.7 percent of Black respondents were living with HIV, nearly five times the rate in the USTS sample overall and more than twenty times the rate in the U.S. population.

In light of the report’s findings illustrating the impact of the compounding forms of discrimination that Black transgender people face, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) last week introduced a congressional resolution “recognizing the violence and other challenges faced by transgender women of color in America.” Among its policy recommendations, Ellison’s resolution calls for non-discrimination protections for transgender employees, a public education campaign to dispel myths about transgender people, an end to racial profiling, and an end to the practice of placing transgender people in solitary confinement.

HRC applauds NCTE, Black Transmen Inc., Black Transwomen, the National Black Justice Coalition, and Rep. Ellison for highlighting the high rates of discrimination and additional challenges black transgender people and transgender women of color face. HRC is committed to working toward a world where all transgender people, regardless of race or gender, are able to live their lives fully, free from discrimination.


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