After surveying 92,329 people in 2022, the early insights gleaned from the 2022 U.S. Trans Survey (USTS) have been releasedand they highlight just how much impact gender-affirming care can have.
The USTS, which was last completed in 2015, has provided integral research into the lives and experiences of trans people in the U.S. Since the landscape of trans-rightsand support for those rights has changed so much since 2015, the 2022 edition was conducted in order to provide more up-to-date research. The survey was conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality in partnership with the Black Trans Advocacy Conference (BTAC), TransLatin@ Coalition, and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.
In 2022, researchers surveyed people aged 16 and over and included responses from all 50 U.S. states and multiple U.S. territories. The original 2015 survey only included ages 18 and up, but it was altered in 2022 to more broadly include different aspects of trans experiences, especially the experiences of trans youth.This recent USTA is now the largest survey ever conducted into the lives of trans people in the U.S.
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of National Center for Transgender Equality, said the original plan was to conduct it in five year intervals, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, he knew they weren't going to be able to conduct the best outreach during that time.
Some of the most major findings from the 2022 survey fall in the scope of gender-affirming care. Nearly all respondents, 94%, who had transitioned at some point in their lives reported they were more satisfied with their lives. About 98% of those who were currently receiving hormones for transition and 97% who received gender-affirming surgery also reported feeling more satisfied.
Looking at the survey's responses, Heng-Lehtinen said the sheer number of people who reported greater life satisfaction with gender-affirming hormone therapy and/or surgery stood out to him.
"It shows the power of authenticity," he said. "There's no substitute for being able to live as your authentic self every day, and that remains true even when you are encountering discrimination. No one should have to face discrimination because of who they are, and yet it's remarkable that people still say, 'But my life is still better for having come out of the closet.'"
In life outside of gender transition, more than one-third, 34%, of respondents were experiencing poverty and 30% had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. About 18% were unemployed while 11% of respondents who had ever held a job had lost their job in some way due to their gender identity. Nearly half, 47%, reported they would feel uncomfortable asking police or law enforcement for help if they needed it.
The survey also highlighted the bleakness of anti-trans legislation across the country. Nearly half, 47%, of respondents said they had thought about moving to another state due to their state government's treatment of trans people. 5% had actually moved.
The final report will include demographic breakdown such as statistics in specific communities based on race and location. This stood out to Carter Brown, executive director of BTAC.
"That is absolutely pivotal, underscoring the harsh realities despite the advancements in awareness and advocacy" he said. "Our community, specifically the Black and trans and nonbinary communities, continue to experience systemic discrimination in various facets of life."
With BTAC based just outside of Dallas, the organization is no stranger to the increased attacks on trans people by the Texas state government. Brown said he noticed how in the USTS early insights, Texas was one of the top states people moved away from.
"I think that by having the Texas report specifically, it also is going to show that there is an urgent need for political support against anti-trans legislation in Texas and across the south overall," he said. "It's disproportionately impacting Black trans and nonbinary people, so it's imperative that the policy makers here in Texas recognize the humanity and rights of all individuals irrespective of gender identity."
According to Heng-Lehtinen, the full results of the surveyalong with demographic breakdownswill be released later throughout the year.
See ustranssurvey.org .