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Study: 300,000 youth ages 13-17 identify as transgender in the US

About 0.5% of the adult US population—identify as Transgender & trans individuals are younger on average than the U.S. population

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LOS ANGELES – Approximately 1.6 million people ages 13 and older—0.6% of the population—identify as transgender in the United States, according to new estimates from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. This includes 1.4% of youth ages 13-17 (about 300,000 youth) and 0.5% of adults (about 1.3 million adults).

Transgender individuals are younger on average than the general U.S. population. Nearly one in five people who identify as transgender (18%) are ages 13-17, compared to less than one in ten (8%) who are ages 13-17 in the general U.S. population.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), and advanced statistical modeling, researchers estimated the population of adults and youth who identify as transgender nationally and in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. They also provide estimates regarding gender, age, and race/ethnicity.

This report updates previous Williams Institute estimates of the transgender population released in 2016 and 2017. Results show that the percentage and number of adults who identify as transgender in the U.S. has remained steady over time. With the availability of better data, our estimate of the number of youth who identify as transgender has doubled from our previous estimate.

“Advances in gender identity data collection over the past five years have provided a more accurate picture of youth in the U.S. who identify as transgender. Previously, we could only estimate that based on adult data,” said lead author Jody L. Herman, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “These new estimates show us that current policy debates regarding access to gender-affirming care and the ability to participate in team sports likely impact more youth than we previously thought.”

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

  • Of the 1.3 million adults in the U.S. who identify as transgender, 38.5% (515,200) are transgender women, 35.9% (480,000) are transgender men, and 25.6% (341,800) reported they are gender non-conforming.
  • Transgender individuals are younger on average than the U.S. population. Youth ages 13 to 17 are significantly more likely to identify as transgender (1.4%) than adults ages 65 or older (0.3%).
  • Adults and youth who identify as transgender in the U.S. reside in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Regionally,
    • 253,800 adults and 61,700 youth identify as transgender in the Northeast
    • 328,500 adults and 81,700 youth identify as transgender in the West
    • 523,600 adults and 102,200 youth identify as transgender in the South
    • 231,200 adults and 54,500 youth identify as transgender in the Midwest
  • At the state level, estimates range from 0.9% of adults who identify as transgender in North Carolina to 0.2% in Missouri. Among youth, estimates range from 3.0% who identify as transgender in New York to 0.6% in Wyoming.
  • At the national level, racial and ethnic distribution of adults and youth appear similar to the racial/ethnic distribution of the U.S. population. This study provides the first-ever population estimates of Asian and American Indian/Alaska Native adults and youth who identify as transgender.
    • White: 0.5% (731,200) of adults and 1.3% (138,800) of youth identify as transgender
    • Black: 0.6% (173,500) of adults and 1.4% (39,600) of youth identify as transgender
    • Latinx: 0.7% (289,700) of adults and 1.8% (92,900) of youth identify as transgender
    • Asian: 0.5% (77,300) of adults and 1.0% (10,800) of youth identify as transgender
    • American Indian/Alaska Native: 0.9% (14,500) of adults and 1.8% (3,000) of youth identify as transgender
    • Multiracial: 1.0% (50,900) of adults and 1.5% (15,000) of youth identify as transgender

“Better collection of data about transgender people on federal surveys is vital to understand the characteristics, experiences, well-being, and needs of the transgender population in the United States,” said study author Andrew R. Flores, Visiting Scholar at the Williams Institute. “The CDC should make the YRBS and BRFSS gender identity questions part of the core survey rather than optional questions, and the U.S. government should include questions to identify transgender people in all federal surveys.”

Read the report 
Access the data interactive

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Research/Study

Californians with low incomes hit hardest by high costs of living & inflation

Around 3 in 5 California households with incomes below $50,000 had trouble affording basic expenses in June

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

By Kayla Kitson & Sara Kimberlin | SACRAMENTO – For many years, high costs of living have made it difficult for many Californians to keep themselves and their families safely housed, healthy, and nourished. Recent high inflation has made it even harder for people to thrive in California communities.

When basic costs go up, Californians with the lowest incomes are particularly likely to struggle to make ends meet. Around 3 in 5 California households with incomes below $50,000 had trouble affording basic expenses in June. And due to past and continued discrimination, about one-half of Black, Latinx, and other Californians of color reported struggling with basic expenses in recent months, compared to about 30% of white Californians.

Policymakers should ensure policies to address recent price increases prioritize the needs of people with low incomes, who were already left out of sharing the state’s pre-pandemic prosperity and who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and inflation.

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The preceding article was previously published by the California Budget & Policy Center and was republished with permission.

The California Budget & Policy Center (Budget Center) is a nonpartisan, research and analysis nonprofit committed to advancing public policies that improve the lives of Californians who are denied opportunities to share in the state’s wealth and deserve the dignity and support to lead thriving lives in our communities.

We highlight inequities in our state — specifically in budget choices and public policies affecting low and middle income households, women, immigrants, American Indians, Asian, Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander Californians, as well as other Californians of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ Californians — and identify policy pathways that expand economic opportunities and promote well-being for all Californians.

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Research/Study

Trauma and suicide risk among LGBTQ+ youth; New study released

“Experiences of discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBTQ youth can contribute to trauma symptoms”

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Photo by Harrison J. Bahe

NEW YORK – A new study released this week by the Trevor Project showed that experiences of discrimination or physical threat or harm based on one’s sexual orientation and/or gender
identity created LGBTQ youth trauma-related symptoms leading to a more than three times greater odds of those youth attempting suicide.

Research has consistently found that LGBTQ youth report increased experiences of trauma-related events compared to their straight, cisgender youth, often because they experience discrimination and victimization based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity that their non-LGBTQ+ peers do not.

Key Findings:

  • LGBTQ youth who reported high levels of trauma symptoms had more than three times greater odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to LGBTQ youth with no trauma symptoms and those with low or moderate trauma symptoms
  • One in four LGBTQ youth with high symptoms of trauma reported a suicide attempt in the past.
  • More than one in three (37%) LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 reported high levels of trauma symptoms and only 4% of LGBTQ youth reported never experiencing trauma symptoms.
  • Overall, LGBTQ youth of color reported significantly higher rates of having high levels of trauma symptoms compared to white LGBTQ youth, with the highest rates among Native/Indigenous LGBTQ youth (52%) and Middle Eastern/Northern African LGBTQ youth (44%). 
  • Significantly more transgender and nonbinary youth reported high levels of trauma symptoms (44%) compared to cisgender LGBQ youth (25%).

“Experiences of discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBTQ youth can contribute to trauma symptoms, which can include feeling scared, anxious, or unsafe in the world, often. These new data demonstrate that LGBTQ youth who reported high levels of trauma symptoms had more than three times greater odds of attempting suicide in the past year,” said Dr. Myeshia Price Senior Research Scientist at The Trevor Project.

“We must consider the harm that discriminatory policies – and the ugly rhetoric surrounding them – can have when it comes to the potential for traumatizing LGBTQ youth. We urge lawmakers to implement policies that protect LGBTQ youth from anti-LGBTQ and racist discrimination, as our findings indicate doing so may support effective interventions for reducing trauma symptoms and suicide risk among LGBTQ youth.”

Read the study and its findings:

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Research/Study

Fox News attacked LGBTQ people over 100 days in the first half of 2022

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Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

By Alex Paterson | WASHINGTON – Fox News attacked LGBTQ people at least once on 106 of the 181 days in the first half of 2022 (59%). Fox’s anti-LGBTQ attacks were particularly focused during LGBTQ Pride Month in June, with the network attacking the community at least once a day on 26 out of 30 days (87%).

Fox News’ attacks against the LGBTQ community during this time period were extreme and harmful. Fox anchors, hosts, and guests repeatedly spread baseless lies about queer and trans people, including falsely claiming that life-saving gender-affirming health care is “child abuse,” spreading the longdebunked myth that LGBTQ people seek to groom children for sexual exploitation, and misgendering and deadnaming trans people.

The network’s most popular star, Tucker Carlson, even repeatedly called for violence against teachers who discuss LGBTQ issues with their students. Fox’s attacks come at a time when calls for violence against LGBTQ people are being answered by right-wing extremists.

In fact, incidents of anti-LGBTQ demonstrations and violence rose from 15 events in 2020 to 61 in 2021, according to data collected by Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project. There have already been 33 incidents in 2022, putting it on track to be even worse than last year.

In the first six months of 2022, Fox News attacked LGBTQ people on 106 of 181 days

Fox News attacked LGBTQ on over 100 days in the first half of 2022

Media Matters reviewed all original news programming on Fox News during the first six months of 2022 for attacks against LGBTQ people. We searched for a variety of attacks against the community, including when a speaker baselessly claimed that gender-affirming health care is a form of child abuse, LGBTQ people are sexually grooming children, or that being LGBTQ is a social contagion.

We also searched for coverage that denigrated certain trans people who are often the target of Fox’s hatred, such as former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas and Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine.Key findings include: 

In the first six months of 2022, Fox News attacked LGBTQ people at least once on 106 out of the 181 days (59%).

Fox News attacked LGBTQ people the most during Pride Month in June, with the network attacking the community at least once a day on 26 out of 30 days in the month (87%). 

The network’s attacks in June were particularly concentrated in the second half of the month, with Fox hosts, correspondents, and guests attacking LGBTQ people at least once every day in the final 12 days of the month (June 19-30).

Fox’s bigoted programming directly undermines its efforts to “celebrate Pride Month” by airing segments highlighting the accomplishments of various LGBTQ people. 

April was the next month with the most days with at least one attack, with attacks on 23 out of 30 days (77%), followed by March, which had at least one attack a day on 20 out of 31 days (65%).

These attacks coincided with the right-wing media onslaught against Disney because of its opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Fox News’ extreme anti-LGBTQ attacks Fox’s incessent push to vilify LGBTQ people is a key component of the right’s broader campaign to falsely claim that the public existence of LGBTQ people somehow poses a sexual threat to minors. These attacks coincide with conservative officials’ fervent efforts to repeal the rights of LGBTQ people, particularly trans people.

According to a CNN analysis of data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union, state lawmakers have introduced 162 anti-LGBTQ bills this year, 21 of which have already been enacted into law, making it a record-breaking year for both the number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced and signed into law in the U.S.

The majority of these bills target trans people, with numerous bills seeking to criminalize health care for trans youth or bar trans athletes from competing on sports teams that align with their gender identity. 

Methodology

Media Matters searched transcripts in the SnapStream video database for all original programming on Fox News Channel for any of the terms “LGBT,” “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual,” “queer,” “intersex,” “equality,” “sex,” “binary,” “gender,” “puberty,” “define woman,” “rachel levine,” “lia thomas,” or “Disney” within close proximity of any variation of any of the terms “groom,” “ideology,” “lie,” “cheat,” “attack,” “deceive,” “violence,” “discrimination,” “radical,” “extreme,” “bully,” “sexualize,” “abuse,” “pedophile,” “castration,” “predator,” “evil,” “book,” “family,” “norms,” “erase,” “dominate,” “recruit,” or “convert” from January 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022.

We counted segments, which we defined as instances when LGBTQ issues or people were the stated topic of discussion or where we found “significant discussion” of LGBTQ issues or people.

We defined significant discussion as two or more speakers in a multitopic segment discussing LGBTQ issues or people with one another. We also included passing mentions, which we defined as instances when a single speaker mentioned LGBTQ issues or people without another speaker engaging with the comment, and teasers, which we defined as instances when the anchor or host promoted a segment about LGBTQ issues or people scheduled to air later in the broadcast.

We then reviewed the identified segments, mentions, and teasers for claims, which we defined as an uninterrupted block of speech from a single speaker. For host monologues, we defined a claim as an uninterrupted block of speech between read quotes or played clips. We did not include speech within read quotes or played clips unless a speaker in the segment positively affirmed that speech either directly before or after the quote was read or the clip was played.

We deemed claims to be attacking LGBTQ issues or people if the speaker baselessly accused LGBTQ people of sexually grooming children; misgendered or deadnamed a trans person; said that LGBTQ people are seeking to destroy social norms, traditional family structures, or women; fearmongered about LGBTQ topics being discussed in schools; pushed false claims about Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Law; or accused trans athletes of cheating or seeking to destroy women’s sports.

We also considered as attacks claims that spread falsehoods about gender-affirming medical care, including claims that such care is abusive, experimental, or radical.

Additionally, we included claims that pushed extreme hatred about LGBTQ people, including claims that LGBTQ people are advancing a fascist agenda or that being LGBTQ is a social contagion, not real, or similar to being in a cult.

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Alex Paterson is a researcher for the LGBTQ program at Media Matters, where he has worked since 2019. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Montana State University and has a background in LGBTQ advocacy, including previous work at the National LGBTQ Task Force.

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The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished by permission.

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