The Equality and Human Rights Commmission (EHRC) has published its Research Report 27: Trans Research Review, a review of evidence on the inequalities and high levels of discrimination faced by trans people in Britain. This includes such things as: attitudes towards trans people; housing; education; crime; economic status and employment; health and social care; media, leisure and sport; family life and relationships; community and citizenship.
Existing evidence suggests that trans people experience, and are badly affected by, transphobia, in a wide range of forms. This includes bullying and discriminatory treatment in schools, harassment and physical/sexual assault and rejection from families, work colleagues and friends. For example, Morton (2008), found that 62 per cent of respondents had experienced transphobic harassment from strangers in public places who perceived them to be trans. Whittle et al (2007) also found that a majority of respondents had faced harassment in public spaces. They noted that ‘73 per cent of respondents experienced comments, threatening behaviour, physical abuse, verbal abuse or sexual abuse while in public spaces.’ Tackling transphobia must be a priority.
Data on trans population
No major Government or administrative surveys have collected data by including a question where trans people can choose to identify themselves. Publicly collected data on trans people is virtually non-existent, though there is some evidence on attitudes towards trans people, for example in the 2006 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 50 per cent of people said they would be unhappy if a close relative formed a relationship with a transsexual person (Bromley et al, 2007) and in the Commission’s Who Do You See? attitudinal survey in Wales, the figure was 47 per cent (EHRC, 2008).
At present, there is no official estimate of the trans population. The England/Wales Census and Scottish Census have not asked if people identify as trans and do not plan to include such a question in 2010. GIRES, in their Home Office funded study estimate the number of trans people in the UK to be between 300,000 – 500,000, defined as ‘..a large reservoir of transgender people who experience some degree of gender variance’ (Reed et al 2009) (2)
The absence of public data raises significant concerns for populating the Equalities Measurement Framework, in order to map the changing face of inequality for trans people.
The download page for the report can be found by clicking here; despite my reservations about the EHRC (particularly with regard to their seemingly uncritical support for the distinctly trans unfriendly Equalities Bill) this is nevertheless a significant document which anyone with an interest in the inequalities faced by trans people would do well to study.