Largest ever survey of transgender Americans shows high satisfaction with gender transition

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The research team behind the 2022 U.S. Trans Survey (USTS) released a report of its early findings on Wednesday, presenting the largest single sampling of transgender people by any survey, with over 92,000 respondents.

The survey follows up on the National Center for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) 2015 survey, which had nearly 28,000 responses. The 2022 survey also permitted responses from 16 and 17-year-olds.

NCTE’s Director of the USTS, Josie Caballero, spoke with KXAN in 2022 about the survey’s launch.

“It fills in some of the large gaps in research about trans people, and it provides a critical tool for researchers, policymakers and advocates seeking to better understand the needs of trans people,” said Caballero in 2022.

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According to early results from the 2022 survey, 94% of respondents said they were more satisfied with life after gender transitioning, and 3% reported decreased satisfaction. For transgender people receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT), 98% reported higher life satisfaction; for those who had received transition-related surgery, 97%.

KXAN followed up with Caballero about the early results on Friday.

“I believe that [life satisfaction] is probably the most important finding because it just validates the fact that transitional care improves trans lives,” Caballero said. “We hope for detailed analysis to grow our continued knowledge of the gaps in research that we have experienced.”

Despite increased life satisfaction, transgender people report negative experiences in public life:

  • 48% reported a negative experience or were refused service by a health care provider;

  • 34% reported they were experiencing poverty (U.S. average 11.5%), and 30% had experienced homelessness;

  • 18% were unemployed (U.S. average 3.7%), and 11% reported losing a job because they came out; and,

  • 60% of 16- and 17-year-old respondents said school staff, teachers and peers had mistreated them due to their gender identity.

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It saves lives, it improves the quality of life when people feel accepted and encouraged to be themselves.

Josie Caballero, U.S. Trans Survey Director

Texas was named by the report as one of ten states that respondents reported leaving because of state laws targeting them.

“Trans people are pretty much distributed exactly like the actual population of the American public across the country via the census,” Caballero said. “This was before 2023 when we saw 500+ pieces of legislation that were targeting trans and queer people across the country; currently, we are tracking over 300 bills just this year. So we can only assume that the problem is getting worse and more people are actually following through with the migration.”

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The survey team plans to make a more comprehensive report and state-specific reports available later this year.

“We hope with the extra data… researchers are going to be able to actually dig in deeper, to find better questions to ask,” Caballero said. “We’re also hoping that our data set will be a better educational tool for policymakers… that they’re able to cite this information as hard evidence to show the benefits and barriers that transgender people face in the United States.”

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