New HRC Data Shows Dramatic Increase in Americans Who Know Transgender People

by HRC Staff

Research released on International Transgender Day of Visibility underscores how visibility translates powerfully into positive attitudes toward transgender people

WASHINGTON - More than one-third of Americans say they personally know or work with someone who is transgender, according to a new survey commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. Research shows that this historic level of visibility is accompanied by increasing acceptance of transgender people.

Released today to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility, the survey data show that 35 percent of likely voters personally know or work with a transgender person -- twice as many as two years ago, and up from 21 percent from just last year. Significantly, more than two-thirds of those who say they know a transgender person express support for full LGBT equality.

“Today, we celebrate dramatic gains in transgender visibility and acceptance and mark the achievements of the transgender community in the continuing and heroic struggle for full equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Though we are facing a slew of hateful anti-transgender bills across the U.S., and an appalling epidemic of violence against transgender women of color, it is important to take this moment to hail the transgender advocates who have put their stories forward, often despite extreme challenges.”

“Marking International Transgender Day of Visibility allows us to recognize the power and resilience of this community, and to raise up the importance of visibility at home, in our communities and our places of work,” Griffin said. “Our research reinforced what we know --that when people know LGBT people, they support us and the laws that protect us.”

In HRC’s 2015 national survey, 66 percent of those who said they know a transgender person expressed favorable feelings toward them, compared with 13 percent who did not -- a net favorability of 53 percentage points.  This means that the number of voters motivated to support critical laws and protections for transgender people is growing fast.

However, while visibility is increasing, sobering issues remain. In 2015, there were more reported killings of transgender women of color than ever before in the U.S.  Additionally, the transgender community continues to face disproportionate levels of poverty, homelessness, employment discrimination, violence, and HIV.

This year alone, an unprecedented 44 anti-transgender bills are being considered in 17 states. Some bills undercut the ability of transgender people to access gender-affirming health care, create state-sanctioned avenues of anti-transgender discrimination and, last but not least, deny transgender people -- including children and young people -- access to bathrooms, locker rooms and athletic teams consistent with their gender identity.

Read additional detail about the HRC survey here.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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