Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my longer article Gender Identity: A Primer for People Who Just Don’t Get It
Why Trans People Need Allies, By the Numbers
There are an estimated 1.4 million transgender adults in the United States (source: UCLA Williams Institute). While there are no official records, independent studies have estimated anywhere from 2,150 to 15,500 transgender individuals serve in the U.S. armed forces (source: Politifact).
Only twenty states and the District of Columbia protect trans people from discrimination in employment (source: Human Rights Campaign (HRC)) and housing (source: HRC). This means that in 30 states, people who are fired or evicted for being trans have no legal remedy. Perhaps that explains why trans women are four times more likely to live in extreme poverty (less than $10,000 annually) than the general population (source: Movement Advancement Project).
Only sixteen states and D.C. recognize violence targeting trans people as a hate crime (source: HRC). Yet, 2016 saw a record number of trans people murdered, and the number is already higher in 2017 (source: HRC).
More than 40% of trans people will attempt suicide in their lifetime, and those rates increase when trans people also suffer disadvantages due to race, education, income, homelessness, or being victims of violence (source: UCLA). Nonbinary people have the highest rates of suicide and attempted suicide (source: Michaela Mendelsohn, TransCanWork.org).