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Largest Survey of Transgender Life in U.S. Publishes PA Specific Data

Harrisburg – Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Equality Pennsylvania released the Pennsylvania specific data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS). The data reveal disturbing discrimination trends and a range of disparities between transgender people and the general population of the United States in all areas of life.

Download the full report here:

As the largest survey of transgender people ever conducted, the full report includes critical information on the experiences of nearly 28,000 transgender Americans from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and several U.S. military bases overseas.

After participants completed the anonymous survey, some shared personal stories through a separate story-sharing page. The following is a story from a transgender person in Pennsylvania:

“I came out 2015. I’ve held 3 jobs since coming out.

At all 3 [jobs] I’ve been sexually harassed, made to feel worthless to the company, and worst of all denied my right to the restroom.

Everyday I cry when it comes time to work . . . I battle suicidal thoughts daily because I’m tired of being made to feel less, tired of the harassment, and just want to be happy in my own skin.”

The PA Breakout Report included striking data showing that this story is part of a larger pattern including:

  • One third of respondents to the survey are living in poverty and 11% of respondents are currently unemployed. 16% of respondents who have ever been employed reported losing a job in their lifetime because of gender identity or expression.
  • 77% of those who were out or perceived as transgender at some point between Kindergarten and Grade 12 (K-12) experienced some form of mistreatment, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, disciplined more harshly, or physically or sexually assaulted because people thought they were transgender.
  • 21% of respondents experienced some form of housing discrimination in the past year, such as being evicted from their home or apartment because of being transgender. 22% of respondents who experienced homelessness in the past year avoided staying in a shelter because they feared being mistreated as a transgender person.

“The data in this survey reflects the complaints Equality Pennsylvania has received regarding instances of discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, law enforcement interaction, and healthcare for community members around the state,” added Joanne Carroll, Vice President of the Equality Pennsylvania board, President of the TransCentral PA Board, and Co-chair of the Keystone Conference. “It demonstrates further the need for the passage of the PA Fairness Act recently introduced by Representative Dan Frankel, which prohibits such discrimination based on gender identity.”

“In the face of dangerous legislation that keeps popping up in states all over the nation, our work to educate the public is more important than ever before,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of NCTE. “Our survey speaks to what we already know: transgender people experience rampant discrimination and endure substantial obstacles to meeting their most fundamental needs. We hope this state-specific information will inspire policymakers on the local, state and federal levels to enact policies that improve lives, not make them worse.”

The full national survey report and all state breakout reports can be found at


The National Center for Transgender Equality is the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people.

With 60,000 members across the commonwealth, Equality Pennsylvania is the leading organization advancing equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Pennsylvanians.


Levana Layendecker

Deputy Executive Director, Equality PA | 267-240-4338

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