5 Surprising Statistics About Transgender Discrimination In America

by Adam Maidment

This month will be a crucially important time to raise awareness and understand the transgender community.

November marks Trans Awareness Month, an important campaign to help educate and raise awareness, in an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the diverse experiences and identities of the transgender community.

The campaign, which is fully supported by numerous LGBTQ charities around the world, will also coincide with the start of GLAAD's Transgender Awareness Week on November 14 and the International Transgender Day Of Remembrance on November 20.

While 2015 has managed to be a great year for providing a deeper understanding and awareness of the transgender community, there is still a long way to go.

With regard to this important month, the executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, Rea Carey, issued a statement:

There is much to celebrate in terms of awareness for the transgender community, but there are urgent issues that must be addressed that directly affect transgender lives. As we mark this very special month, we all must work harder for a world where transgender people and all LGBQ people can bring their whole selves to life without the fear of discrimination, persecution and violence.

With this in mind, I have decided to take a look at some of the most surprising statistics about transgender discrimination that are still very real today, despite all this positive change.

1. Harassment

According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Report, 78 percent of the over 6,450 respondents surveyed reported the fact that in grades K through 12, they had experienced some form of harassment.

This harassment was so severe, it caused 15 percent of them to leave school. The participants who said they were harassed or abused (or both) by teachers showed dramatically worse health, along with other damaging effects.

Fifty-three percent of the respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected at least once in a public space, such as a hotel or restaurant, due to their identity.

2. Abuse

The police are supposed to be there to look after the community.

But in the same report, one-fifth of the respondents (22 percent) reported a form of harassment by the police, with much higher rates reported by people of color.

Almost half of the total respondents surveyed reported they feel uncomfortable seeking out help from the police.

3. Healthcare

Nineteen percent of the respondents reported they were refused medical care, purely because of their transgender status.

Pair this up with the fact that the participants said they felt uncomfortable talking to the police and the fact that 28 percent of them postponed medical care due to fear of discrimination, and it shows just how bad the situation still is.

4. Media Representation

Shows like "Orange Is The New Black," "Sense8" and "Transparent" welcome transgender stars and characters, but there are still a number of movies and television shows that refuse to represent the community.

GLAAD’s 2015 Where We Are On TV report showed only 4 percent of regular characters featured on prime-time, scripted television openly represented the LGBT community: a total of 35 characters.

However, none of these characters identified as transgender.

There were only three recurring trans characters on cable TV.

Streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon were more accepting of the community at 7 percent (four characters), with two series leads. Yet, this showed there are still massive leaps and bounds that need to be taken.

5. Political Representation

Recent research by the LGBTQ Representation and Rights Research Initiative showed the transgender community is severely underrepresented in politics.

The New Statesman found the research by the initiative showed that "126 transgender and gender-variant candidates from 30 countries had run in just over 200 races since 1977. Forty-eight candidates were elected, and with re-elections, they won 72 times."

The only transgender MP in the world, Anna Grodzka of Poland's Green Party, recently lost her re-election bid.

With such widespread reports of discrimination, there is a great need to understand political representation within the trans community. Yet, the numbers show a lack of representatives.

The year 2015 has been great for raising awareness within the trans community. However, the statistics show just how much discrimination the community still faces, day in and day out.

The second addition of the National Transgender Discrimination Report will be released in 2016.

Hopefully, this will show that while massive changes still need to be made, they are finally starting to happen.