Dearest friends and supporters of Outshine NW,
Today, we have two exciting announcements! First, the release of data from the 2015 US Trans Survey! This is the most comprehensive, extensive, and informative research study ever conducted among American transgender people. 27,715 trans or gender-variant participants completed the survey of over 300 questions, with a less than 5% rate of missing responses. For those unfamiliar with statistics, let us just say: this quantity and quality of community participation in research is unheard of. Trans communities across the country have much to be proud of today.
The new data tell us many important things. First and foremost: when researchers devote meaningful time and energy to accurately characterizing our reality within their work, in collaborative partnership with Trans leaders, our communities do show up to participate in, and will organize to support, community-based research. Trans people exist and need to be the driving force in research about our own lives.
What do the survey results tell us about Outshine NW’s work?
39% of respondents experienced serious psychological distress (based on the Kessler 6 Psychological Distress Scale) in the month prior to completing the survey, compared with only 5% of the U.S. population.
40% of respondents have attempted suicide in their lifetime– nearly nine times the rate of the U.S. population (4.6%).
7% attempted suicide within the past year — nearly twelve times the rate in the U.S. population (0.6%).
33% had at least one negative experience in healthcare settings related to being transgender.
23% did not seek health care they need in the year prior, due to fear of being mistreated, while 33% did not receive healthcare because they could not afford it.
25% reported a problem in the past year with their insurance related to being transgender.
55% of those who sought coverage for transition-related surgery in the past year were denied.
Respondents to the US Trans Survey reported living with HIV (1.4%) at nearly five times the rate of the U.S. population (0.3%). Among Black transgender women, 19% reported living with HIV.
23% reported experiencing some form of housing discrimination in the past year. 30% have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, with 12% experiencing homelessness in the past year due to being transgender.
More than 26% of those who experienced homelessness avoided shelters for fear of mistreatment, while 70% of those who stayed in a shelter in the past year reported mistreatment, harassment, being sexually or physically assaulted, or being kicked out of shelters due to their gender identity.
46% have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, while 54% experienced intimate partner violence.
No surprises here, but it’s so nice to finally have numbers!
So, what is Outshine NW doing to support our communities in light of these data?
We’re moving to Arkansas.
During our winter working retreat outside the country to step back and focus on the direction of Outshine NW’s energy, we have concluded that being the light in the world means relocating our work to the rural Ozarks, where our energy is deeply and disproportionately needed.
Donations to the winter working retreat fundraiser support our preparations for this move. We are buying a parcel of land where disadvantaged trans people throughout the state will come rest their heads with relative safety and build community together in the coming years.
We won’t have much, but we’ll have each other.
Friends, we are deeply grateful for the countless ways you have uplifted, supported, and promoted Outshine NW’s light into the apathetic darkness this past year. Now, more than ever before, we have strong evidence of the hardships our community faces; and now, more than ever before, we have opportunities to overcome those hardships together.
Please take a moment today to reflect upon and share this announcement. Begin conversations with your friends, your families, and your colleagues about the US Trans Survey data. Ask what they’re doing — and share with them what you’re doing — to end Trans discrimination in health and human services.
Ask them to support our winter fundraiser so we can build a safe shelter for the staggering number of trans people in the South who will die over the next four years without this level of intervention.
Through it all, please remember that you are loved. Your life is valuable. You bring unique beauty to the world that is worthy of support, appreciation, and respect. Outshine NW aims to correct the misinformed society that tells us otherwise. Will you join us?
It’s time we Rise and Shine together.
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#RiseandShine #StandTrans #USTransSurvey #USTS #TransHealth #TransHomelessness