Reports: Despite higher visibility people who are transgender still face huge barriers

UnfairPricePeople who are transgender are becoming more visible in American society.

Transgender activist and actress Laverne Cox, who appears on the hit Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” made the cover of Time. And Chaz Bono, the only child of well known entertainers Sonny and Cher, made an Oprah Winfrey Network documentary about his transition from female to male.

However, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) joined other organizations to partner on two reports released today that show that despite this increased visibility,  people who are transgender still face significant barriers to safety, health and well-being.

The two reports, “Understanding Issues Facing Transgender Americans” and “Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America,” detail widespread discrimination and inequities the transgender population faces. These include higher rates of poverty, violence, and poor health, and limited job opportunities.

The reports are co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Center for American Progress, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), and the Transgender Law Center. NASW,  the Center for Community Change, Center for Popular Democracy, GLAAD, and the National Education Association are partners on the reports.

“Transgender Americans are experiencing a unique moment in history, as growing visibility leads to greater familiarity and understanding of transgender lives,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of MAP. “At the same time, many transgender people, particularly transgender women and transgender people of color, still face enormous barriers to their safety, health, and well-being.”

Please share the report via social media (use #trans on Twitter). And to learn more about what NASW is doing to improve the welfare of people from the LGBTQ community contact NASW Social Justic eand Human Rights Manager Mel Wilson at or Evelyn Tomaszewski, NASW’s senior policy associate for HIV/AIDS, LGBT issues and violence prevention, at






  1. Robin Lennon-Dearing

    Inequality and discrimination for transgender individuals is shocking and widespread. At the national level they are twice as likely to be unemployed and are four times as likely to live in poverty! Social workers need to have a better awareness of the discrimination, injustice, and inequality faced by transgender people. Hopefully this knowledge will enable social workers to take action, locally, state-wide and nationally to promote social justice and equal treatment for all people.

    Robin Lennon-Dearing, PhD, MSW

  2. So glad to see the posts regarding this timely article. Equally happy to see Greg Wright’s quick response! Thanks for working with us, NASW!

  3. An important article, but PLEASE do not use the term “transgendered.” That word can be highly offensive to the trans* community. As stated by GLAAD, “The word transgender never needs the extraneous “ed” at the end of the word. In fact, such a construction is grammatically incorrect. Only verbs can be transformed into participles by adding “-ed” to the end of the word, and transgender is an adjective, not a verb.”

    Members of the trans* community have explained it to me like this: You would not say “colored people” here in the 21st century. We say “people of color.” Similarly, we do not say “transgendered people,” we say “people who are transgender.” “Transgendered” makes it seem as if being transgender is a condition that has been inflicted upon a trans* person, which is not the case.

    I hope this is helpful.

    • Thanks for alerting us. We will change references.

      Greg Wright
      Public Relations Manager
      National Association of Social Workers

  4. This is a great article and as social workers we need to be aware of how this population is affected. The term “transgendered” can be offensive to many.

    • Kelsey:

      Thanks for alerting us and the term has been changed.

      Have a great day.

      Greg Wright
      Public Relations Manager
      National Association of Social Workers

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