Identity

A Guide to the Social Factors That Put Transgender Lives at Risk

Trans Americans experience discrimination everywhere from housing to education. What role does that play in their deaths?

by Diana Tourjée
Jan 2 2017, 4:49pm

All Illustrations by Jennifer Kahn

News coverage of transgender issues frequently includes devastating stories of violence and loss. Every year, we read about trans women who are brutally murdered, or trans youth who take their own lives due to discrimination. At Broadly, we have covered these stories with the aim to look closely at crimes and tragedies that are often quickly forgotten. We saw transgender murder victims in high numbers again in 2016, and we saw similar cases from earlier years tried in court.

It is our intention to cover these issues in a way that exceeds reporting on death. In 2016, Broadly published a series looking at the social factors that contribute to risk for transgender people. These issues represent material injustice that society is capable of (and responsible for) changing. We are entering into the new year with an uncertain but disturbing political shift impending; the public's role in shaping social programs for, and cultural attitudes toward, marginalized peoples has become even more obviously important. Our 2016 investigation into these issues have been compiled here.

For Trans Women of Color, Safe Employment Is a Matter of Life and Death

With an unemployment rate four times higher than the general population, trans women of color face countless barriers when it comes to finding safe employment. Many turn to survival sex work, which can be incredibly dangerous.

'I Can't Keep Living Like This': How Homelessness Is Killing Trans People

One in five people in the transgender community don't know where they are going to sleep tonight. Whether they're kicked out of their homes or lose housing later in life, transgender people are placed at higher risk without housing. Even our resources to support the homeless fail trans people, as many shelters turn trans people away.

'Mom, I'm Dying': How Family Rejection Charts Trans Youth Toward Death

The family is our first social institution, and it's where young people should be given every opportunity for success. When trans people receive love from their parents, they're far less likely to experience mental health issues that statistically plague the community, and are more likely to be prepared for life. Violence against transgender people is at an all time high. For many, every day is a struggle to survive. Without parental support, that fight starts earlier and becomes much more dangerous.

The Deadly Reality for Transgender Students Facing Discrimination in School

Transgender youth in school are subject to constant discrimination—from policies and administrations who fail to fight for them to severe bullying by other students. Because of this, trans students often feel like they have few choices between dropping out or taking their own lives.

How the Media Bullies Trans People to Death

The media has only recently begun to cover transgender issues responsibly. For decades, trans people's lives have been reported on sensationally and with disdain. Lucy Meadows was a transgender schoolteacher outed in the national press and hounded by the media. Three years on, we ask advocates if there's been any progress made in how the media reports on transgender people.