Trans population in Texas second-biggest in U.S.

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Texas has the second-largest population of transgender residents in the U.S., a large slice of the 1.4 million trans adults across the country, according to a first-ever state-level estimate of people who identify as trans.

Some 125,350 adults in Texas – .66% of the state's population – identify as transgender, according to the new study from LGBT researchers at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. That ranks second only to California, which has 218,400 trans adults, or .76% of its population.

In terms of percentage of trans adults, Texas ranks fifth behind Georgia (.75%, 55,650), New Mexico (.75%, 11,750), California (.76%, 218,400) and Hawaii (.78%, 8.450).

In Texas, the largest number of trans people are ages 25-64, though the largest percentage is 18-24. The age breakdowns in the state: 18-24 (.73%, 19,600), 25-64 (.66%, 88,950) and 65 and older (.55%, 15,700).

The report comes as transgender issues have gained increased attention in Texas. As the Obama administration proposed guidelines calling for schools to allow trans students to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity, state leaders freaked and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton attacked the new transgender guidelines in Fort Worth's public school system. A poll from the Texas Politics Project shows the transphobic reaction from Patrick, Paxton and others resonates with voters in the state.

A battery of questions on the June UT/Texas Politics Project Poll reveals that the substance of these concerns are strongly shaped by sharply contrasting partisan attitudes toward transgender access to both public and public school facilities. As a group, Republicans are more concerned about transgender access to public restrooms than are Democrats, and are also much more likely to think that access to the facilities should be based on birth gender rather than gender identity.

The research from the Williams Institute is “critical to current policy discussions that impact transgender people,” according to Jody Herman, one of the authors of the study.

“Policy debates on access to bathrooms, discrimination, and a host of other issues should rely on the best available data to assess potential impacts, including how many people may be affected,” Herman said.

The report, How Many Adults Identify As Transgender In The United States?, was released on Thursday. It estimated the adult trans population across the U.S. at .6% or 1.4 million – more than double the estimate from a past study in 2011.

The study is based on survey responses in 19 states from the Center for Disease Control's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in 2014. The report also uses additional data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey to develop estimates for the other 31 states.

Key findings from the report:

  • Approximately 0.6% of adults identify as transgender, or 1.4 million adults.
  • There are differences in the percentage of adults who identify as transgender among the states. Hawaii (0.8%), California (0.8%), Georgia (0.8%), New Mexico (0.8%), Texas (0.7%), and Florida (0.7%) are the states that have the highest percentages of adults who identify as transgender.
  • The states with the lowest percentages of transgender-identified adults are North Dakota (0.3%), Iowa (0.3%), Wyoming (0.3%), Montana (0.3%), and South Dakota (0.3%).
  • Young adults are more likely than older adults to identify as transgender. Among adults ages 18 to 24, 0.7% identify as transgender; among adults ages 25 to 64, 0.6% identify as transgender; and among adults ages 65 and older, 0.5% identify as transgender.

Photo by Brian Hughes

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