Report: Latin American transgender in the U.S. struggle with discrimination, mistreatment

Transgender people of color, photo from
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NBC news published last Wednesday the findings of a new report on the experiences of transgender Latino/Latina in the U.S. that revealed health disparities and discrimination against them.

The report was conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) with TransLatin@ Coalition and was based from the country’s largest survey by NCTE for transgender people in the U.S. called 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.

It showed the harsh reality that transgender Americans live, particularly transgender people of color.

Among the Latino/Latina transgender respondents, 21 percent said they were unemployed, a number that is way higher than the national average of 5 percent.

In addition, 43 percent also reported that they were living in poverty and over 30 percent said that they had experienced homelessness as a result of their gender identity.

On the status of their mental health, 45 percent said that they had serious psychological distress in the month before taking the survey.

Speaking of the significance of the report, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling told NBC in statement, “The full report of the U.S. Transgender Survey showed us some incredibly important data that supplemented information we already had about the experiences of transgender people in the United States. Now, this report will allow advocates to do similar work that is targeted specifically at improving the lives of Latino/a transgender people.”

The report also captured the sentiments of the transgender community towards law enforcement agency.

While 53 percent of white transgender respondents say that they are somewhat or very uncomfortable calling for police help, the number of transgender Latino/Latina is higher with 60 percent of them saying they are reluctant in seeking for assistance from the police.

Moreover, the respondents also reported unfavorable disparities in being recipients of health care. An estimated 32 percent said they felt that because their transgender identity, they experienced at least one negative experience with a health care provider.

Elsewhere in the world, the number of transgender having bad experience with healthcare institutions could be higher. In Sweden for example, only 27% knew of gender-friendly clinics and a staggering 39% said that they have bad health in spite of the country’s progressive legislation protecting transgender rights.

TransLatin@ Coalition President Bamby Salcedo wrote in a statement, “Having specific information about trans Latin@s in the United States is one of the most important elements for us to be validated. This report will provide people the opportunity to better understand our needs so that policymakers can ensure that those needs are met.”

“This information will support our collective work to create the changes that need to happen for our community to be in a better place within our society,” Salcedo further said.


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