WASHINGTON – Latino and Latina transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people according to an analysis released earlier this month.
The report, "Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Latino/a Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey," was put together by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is a supplement an earlier study, "Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey."
A key finding of the original report was that even given the unconscionable levels of discrimination against all transgender people in the U.S., people of color, including Latinos/as, experienced heightened levels of discrimination and had worse outcomes than the sample overall. Additionally, the findings reveal that immigration status also plays a role in these outcomes with non-citizen Latino/a respondents often reporting even worse experiences.
"This study shows how devastating multiple discrimination is for Latino and Latina transgender people," says LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes. "We are committed to ensuring that all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation and gender identity are respected and treated fairly. We call upon other Latino groups to join us as we fight for the right of transgender people to live without fear of discrimination, harassment or violence. We will not stand idly by in a society where equality is not within everyone's reach."
Among key findings from the report:
- Latino/a transgender people had a very high unemployment rate at 20%, higher than the overall transgender sample (14%) and nearly three times the rate of the general population at the time the survey was fielded (7%).
- Latino/a transgender people often live in extreme poverty with 28% reporting a household income of less than $10,000 per year. This is nearly double the rate for transgender people of all races (15%), over five times the general Latino/a population rate (5%), and seven times the general U.S. population rate (4%). The rate for Latino/a non-citizen respondents was 43%.
- Latino/a transgender people were affected by HIV in devastating numbers. One in twelve Latino/a respondents were HIV-positive and an additional 10% reported that they did not know their status.
- 47% of Latino/a respondents reported having attempted suicide.
- Latino/a respondents who attended school as transgender people reported alarming rates of harassment (77%), physical assault (36%), and sexual assault (13%) in K-12; harassment was so severe that it led 21% to leave school. Nine percent were also expelled due to bias.
- 27% of Latino/a respondents said they had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, nearly four times the rate of the general U.S. population (7.4%).
- 23% of Latino/a transgender people reported being refused medical care due to bias.
"This report is a critical call to action," said Rea Carey, executive director of NGLTF. "The numbers make clear the way that racism, anti-immigrant and anti-transgender bias all work together, often with devastating results in the lives of Latino and Latina transgender people. We must ensure that we continue to work toward an LGBT movement that prioritizes immigration, racial and economic justice."
Mara Keisling, executive director of NCTE, said the report paints a devastating picture of the treatment of Latino/a transgender people.
"We have long known that race and citizenship status have a very real impact on transgender people. And for the first time, we can identify in specific terms, what these painful realities are. Documented or not, these numbers tell us that the LGBT movement must have an immigrant-inclusive agenda,” Keisling said.