Transgender Issues

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    Media Advisory: Fact Sheet on Guidance Protecting Over 350,000 Transgender Youth and Young Adults From Discrimination

    News outlets are reporting that the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice will withdraw legal guidance that protects over 350,000 transgender youth and young adults in the United States from discrimination in education. The Williams Institute is providing this fact sheet to assist with reporting on the issue. Williams Institute scholars are available for comment.

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    Scholars File Amici Brief On Transgender Youth

    On January 30, 2017, 62 scholars who study the transgender population–many of whom are affiliated with the Williams Institute–filed an amici curiae brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Whitaker v. Kenosha School District.  The appeal concerns a transgender student’s access to facilities consistent with his gender identity.  In their …

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    New Estimates Show that 150,000 Youth Ages 13 to 17 Identify as Transgender in the US

    Jody L. Herman, Andrew R. Flores, Taylor N. T. Brown, Bianca D.M. Wilson, and Kerith J. Conron, January 2017

    An estimated 0.7 percent of youth ages 13 to 17, or 150,000 youth, identify as transgender in the United States, according to a new study released by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. This study is the first to provide population estimates for youth who identify as transgender in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

    The study provides new estimates of the age composition of individuals who identify as transgender in the U.S. and estimates of the size of the transgender-identified population by age group. The youngest age group, 13 to 17, has the highest estimated percentage of individuals who identify as transgender.

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    If Passed, Virginia House Bill 1612 Would Negatively Impact 34,500 Transgender Adults and Thousands of Transgender Youth

    On January 11, a Virginia lawmaker offered House Bill 1612 (HB 1612), which would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings, and public universities based on “sex,” as determined by one’s “original birth certificate.” Additionally, the bill would require schools to inform parents or guardians within 24 hours if their child seeks “to be recognized or treated as the opposite sex, to use a name or pronouns inconsistent with the child’s sex, or to use a restroom or changing facility designated for the opposite sex.”

    HB 1612 would negatively impact over 34,000 transgender adults in Virginia. Virginia ranks 24th in the United States in terms of adults who identify as transgender (0.55 percent) and over 40 percent of transgender adults in Virginia are People of Color, including 25 percent who identify as non-Hispanic Black or African-American and 10 percent who identify as Hispanic or Latino.

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    Public Opinion on Transgender Rights: A Twenty-Three Country Survey

    Andrew R. Flores, Taylor N.T. Brown, and Andrew S. Park, December 2017

    Transgender rights have emerged as a central feature in the discourse on LGBT rights in many countries; however, little is known about public support for such rights around the globe. This report presents findings from a ground-breaking survey of 17,105 adults across 23 countries about their attitudes towards transgender people and rights.

    This study provides evidence of high levels of support for transgender rights, as well as instances of strong opposition.

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    Scholars who Study the Transgender Population File Amici Brief in HB2 Appeal

    Williams Institute and other scholars who study the transgender population filed an amici curiae brief in Carcaño v. McCrory, the first litigation over North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2) to reach the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  In this appeal, the court will consider the constitutionality of Part I of HB2, which …

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    Adults Who Identify as Transgender are More Racially and Ethnically Diverse than the U.S. General Population

    Andrew R. Flores, Taylor N. T. Brown, and Jody L. Herman October 2016

    Adults who identify as transgender are more racially and ethnically diverse than the U.S. population overall, according to a new study released by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. This study is the first to provide estimates of the racial and ethnic make-up of adults who identify as transgender in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

    Researchers estimate that adults who identify as transgender are less likely to be white and more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities when compared to the U.S. general population. Adults who identify as African-American or black, Latino or Hispanic, and adults of another race or ethnicity are more likely than white adults to identify as transgender.

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    Strict Voter ID Laws May Disenfranchise More Than 34,000 Transgender Voters in the 2016 November Election

    Jody L. Herman, September 2016

    Eight states’ voter ID laws may create substantial barriers to voting and possible disenfranchisement for tens of thousands of transgender voters this election. In Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin, about 112,000 transgender people who have transitioned are estimated to be eligible to vote—34,000 of them may face barriers to voting this November due to strict ID laws.

    According to a new study entitled, The Potential Impact of Voter Identification Laws on Transgender Voters in the 2016 General Election authored by Williams Institute Scholar Jody L. Herman, Ph.D., many transgender people who have transitioned do not have identification that accurately reflects their correct gender.

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    Model Legislation for Eliminating the Gay and Trans Panic Defenses

    By Jordan Blair Woods, Brad Sears, Christy Mallory
    September 2016

    “Gay panic” and “transgender panic” defenses have been asserted by defendants in criminal trials throughout the U.S. since the 1960s. In these cases, defendants have argued that their violent behavior was a rational response to discovering that the victim was LGBT. The defenses are rooted in irrational fears based on homophobia and transphobia, and send the message that violence against LGBT people is understandable and acceptable. When successful, these defenses have resulted in murder charges being reduced to manslaughter or another lesser offense.

    To date, only one state, California, has banned defendants from asserting gay or transgender panic defense by statute. In this brief, Williams Institute scholars present model language, based on the language adopted in California, that other states may use to eliminate use of the defenses through legislation. The model legislation offers language to prohibit defendants from using gay and trans panic defenses under each of the major defenses theories of provocation, insanity/diminished capacity, and self-defense. In addition, the brief provides an overview of the ways in which the defenses have been asserted in trials throughout the last several decades, and evaluates potential constitutional challenges to state legislation eliminating use of the defenses.

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    How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States

    By Andrew R. Flores, Jody L. Herman, Gary J. Gates, and Taylor N. T. Brown
    June 2016

    Utilizing data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which includes representative state-level surveys, Williams Institute scholars provide up-to-date estimates of the percentage and number of adults who identify as transgender in the United States. Approximately 0.6% of adults in the United States, or 1.4 million individuals, identify as transgender.

    The study also provides the first ever state-level estimates of the number and percentage of adults who identify as transgender for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Differences exist in the percentage of adults who identify as transgender among the states, ranging from 0.3% in North Dakota to 0.8% in Hawaii. Differences by age also exist, with younger adults more likely to identify as transgender than older adults. An estimated 0.7% of adults ages 18 to 24, 0.6% of adults ages 25 to 64, and 0.5% of adults ages 65 and older identify as transgender.

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    Discrimination, Diversity, and Development: The Legal and Economic Implications of North Carolina’s HB2

    By Christy Mallory and Brad Sears
    May 2016

    This report considers the legal and economic implications of North Carolina’s HB2. After considering the size of the LGBT population in North Carolina, and the legal landscape and social climate they face, this report estimates that HB2 directly puts at risk almost $5 billion just in terms of federal funding and business investment. In addition, HB2 contributes to a challenging environment for LGBT people that potentially costs the state tens to hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

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    The Fiscal Impact of Washington State Initiative Measure 1515

    By Amira Hasenbush, Christy Mallory, and Brad Sears
    May 2016

    A ballot initiative in Washington State that would restrict access to restrooms based on biological sex would impact an estimated 26,400 transgender people in the state, and could put at risk up to $4.5 billion in annual federal funding to schools and other state and local government entities. The initiative is in conflict with the gender identity non-discrimination requirements under several federal laws including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Executive Order 13672, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Affordable Care Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Housing Act of 1949. Federal agencies that enforce the laws are authorized to suspend or terminate funding if recipients violate the non-discrimination requirements.

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    The Fiscal Impact of North Carolina’s HB2

    By Christy Mallory and Brad Sears
    May 2016

    North Carolina’s law restricting access to restrooms based on sex listed on an individual’s birth certificate impacts an estimated 37,800 transgender people in the state, and puts at risk $4.8 billion in federal funding to state and local government entities. The law is in conflict with the gender identity non-discrimination requirements under several federal laws including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Executive Order 13672, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Equal Access Rule, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Federal agencies that enforce the laws are authorized to suspend or terminate funding if recipients violate the non-discrimination requirements.

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    The Fiscal Impact of Tennessee House Bill 2414

    By Christy Mallory, Brad Sears and Christopher Carpenter
    April 2016

    Tennessee House Bill 2414 requires public educational institutions to restrict students’ use of restrooms according to the sex assigned on their birth certificates. This policy is in conflict with several federal laws, and, if enacted, could lead to loss of federal funding, administrative enforcement proceedings, and litigation, which could result in costs and lost revenue to the State of Tennessee. This report estimates the number of transgender youth and adults in Tennessee and the amount of federal funding the state could stand to lose if the legislation were passed.

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    Voter ID Laws and Their Added Costs for Transgender Voters

    By Taylor N.T. Brown and Jody Herman
    March 2016

    There are ten states that require voters to provide photo identification in order to vote at the polls and mandate that those who do not do so undertake additional steps to ensure their vote is counted. Transgender people who are residents of these states with strict photo identification requirements for voting may face unique challenges when voting at the polls. To ensure that they are able to vote at the polls, potential voters need to make sure that their appearance, photo ID, and voter registration information match. In this report, we examine in detail the additional steps and costs that transgender people may encounter in order to vote at the polls in states with the strictest photo identification laws.

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    LGB within the T: Sexual Orientation in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey and Implications for Public Policy

    By Jody Herman
    March 2016

    This book chapter examines sexual orientation and discrimination experienced by transgender people, using data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. This study explores how respondents to the NTDS identified their sexual orientation, how those responses differ based on demographic variables (e.g. age, race, and gender), and how respondents’ experiences of discrimination and outcomes differ based on sexual orientation.

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    Estimates of Transgender Populations in States with Legislation Impacting Transgender People (Update)

    By Jody L. Herman, Christy Mallory, and Bianca D.M. Wilson

    Nearly 300,000 transgender youth and adults may be negatively impacted by legislation introduced in 15 states. These bills would limit access to single-sex restrooms and locker rooms at schools and in public places; limit protections based on gender identity; permit individuals and businesses to discriminate against transgender people based on religious and moral beliefs; and limit the ability to change certain vital records documents, such as birth certificates, or enforce the use of birth certificates to establish an individual’s sex for certain purposes. The report includes a brief description of each bill, which age groups it would affect, and how many transgender people we estimate live in each state.

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    Transgender inclusion in state non-discrimination policies: The democratic deficit and political powerlessness

    By Andrew Flores, Jody Herman and Christy Mallory
    December 2015

    We find that there is a substantial democratic deficit regarding the inclusion of gender identity or transgender in employment non-discrimination policies. On average, state support for the policy must be 81% in order for the state to have a policy reflecting such sentiment. This leaves substantial implications for the political powerlessness of transgender people in the political process.

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    The Legal Needs of Transgender Women Living with HIV: Evaluating Access to Justice in Los Angeles

    By Ayako Miyashita, Amira Hasenbush, and Brad Sears
    November 2015

    This report summarizes findings of the Legal Assessment of Needs Study (“LeAN Study”) – an online survey with 387 respondents who identified as people living with HIV/AIDS – for transgender women living with HIV in Los Angeles County. We describe respondents’ legal needs, respondents’ experiences getting assistance for identified legal needs from both legal and non-legal sources, and barriers respondents faced in accessing assistance from both legal and non-legal sources. We describe differences and similarities between transgender women and all other respondents. Finally, we discuss how these legal needs may relate to health access and health status.

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    Attitudes toward Transgender Rights: Perceived Knowledge and Secondary Interpersonal Contact

    By Andrew R. Flores
    June 2015

    This study examines public attitudes about transgender rights in the USA. It finds that as respondents report being more informed about transgender people they tend to have more supportive attitudes. Interpersonal contact with someone who is lesbian or gay also leads to a secondary transfer of positive attitudes. About half of the secondary transfer effect operates through a mechanism of attitude generalization: contact positively affects the opinions people have on gay rights that then broaden to affect attitudes on transgender rights.

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