Most Transgender Americans Live In The Scariest States To Be LGBTQ

Just as the official Pride month came to a close, a new survey was released revealing there are 1.4 million transgender adults in the U.S., more than double previous estimates from the last survey done in 2011, which put the count at around 700,000. The study, an analysis of Centers for Disease Control data by the William’s Institute, is especially timely now that there are various state laws, like North Carolina’s HB2 bathroom bill, that blatantly discriminate against transgender individuals. That’s what’s especially troubling about this study, actually — most transgender people live in the worst states with the most discriminatory laws.

California has the highest population of transgender individuals, but Texas and Florida are the second and third states on the list, with 125,350 and 100,300 trans people respectively. Texas and Florida don’t even have the most basic employment and housing protections for LGBTQ people.

Transgender people are often living in states that don’t give a shit about their civil rights. Which is why the fight for federal protections, like the Equality Act, and disputes about bathroom laws in some backward state affect all of us. If your state is more progressive, you can’t just sit back and assume that all transgender people want to or have the liberty to live in a similar one.

Although the new survey of 1.4 million transgender people is double the last estimate, many advocates feel that the number is super low for the entire population of the United States. It’s entirely possible that there are many transgender people who don’t yet openly identify as such. Uh, yes, if I lived in a state like Florida, I’m not sure I would either. Because it’s a matter of safety. 

The U.S. Census doesn’t even ask about gender identity so there is not federal database about their demographics. For this study, the William’s Institute made cold calls to people’s homes and used the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, but only 19 states include gender identity on that survey. So, 1.4 million is really an educated guess more than anything else.

 

Just this past November, Republican Mike Honda of California (who’s granddaughter is trans) proposed a bill in Congress to investigate the “epidemic” of violence against transgender people. At the time (less than a year ago), 21 transgender women had been murdered because they were trans. Having laws on the books that prevent being evicted or fired for identifying as LGBTQ changes that pattern of violence — slowly, but it does. Because being yourself isn’t a crime, and it’s time we started making the country for everyone.