Pew Research Center releases report on focus groups with transgender and non-binary Americans


This week, the Pew Research Center released the results of focus groups of transgender and non-binary Americans, in which they discuss their experiences, challenges and hopes for the future.

As noted by Pew, their research comes at a time of increased visibility and acceptance of transgender people in American life, as evidenced by the announcement by the US State Department and Social Security Administration more early this year that Americans will be allowed to select “X” rather than “male”. or “female” for gender markers on passports and Social Security applications. At the same time, a number of states – including North Carolina – have moved to limit the rights of transgender people, what children can learn about them in school, and can require teachers, counselors and administrators to introduce LGBTQ students to their parents before they are ready. .

One such bill, NC House Bill 755, is a procedural vote to head for Governor Roy Cooper’s office. Although Cooper has signaled he will likely veto the bill, Republicans see it as a problem in the upcoming election.

From Pew’s announcement of its survey data:

A new survey from the Pew Research Center reveals that 1.6% of American adults are transgender or non-binary, that is, their sex is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. This includes people who describe themselves as male, female, or non-binary, or who use terms such as gender fluid or agender to describe their gender. While relatively few American adults are transgender, a growing share say they know someone who is (44% today compared to 37% in 2017). One in five say they know someone who does not identify as male or female.

To better understand the experiences of transgender and non-binary adults at a time when gender identity is at the center of many national debates, the Pew Research Center conducted a series of focus groups with trans men, trans women and non-binary adults on issues ranging from their gender journey, how they deal with gender issues in their daily lives, to what they see as the most pressing political issues facing trans and non-trans people binaries. This is part of a larger study that includes a survey of the general public about their attitudes towards gender identity and issues related to transgender or non-binary people. The results of this survey will be released later this summer.

These focus groups were not designed to be representative of the entire population of trans and non-binary American adults, but the stories of the participants provide insight into some of the experiences of transgender and/or non-binary people. The groups included a total of 27 transgender and non-binary adults from across the United States and ranging in age from late teens to mid-60s. Most currently live in an urban area, but about half said they grew up in a suburb. The groups included a mix of white, black, Hispanic, Asian and multiracial American participants. See Methodology for more details.

The report examines how focus group members identify, when and how they realized they were transgender or non-binary, and their experiences navigating medical care, among other issues.

The report also uses quotes from focus group participants to highlight their experiences in their own voice.


Read the full Pew Research Center focus group report here.

Learn more about the methodology here.

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