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Friday, October 23, 2015

#Transneeds: Listening to the needs and experiences of trans people

Celebrities like Janet Mock and Laverne Cox have recently brought attention to #transneeds, a hashtag that is calling for trans people to share their stories. The hashtag was first used on September 30th, when participants of the White House LGBT Tech Summit launched it with the intention of raising awareness of and documenting the challenges trans people face in their daily lives.

The summit was held so LGBT leaders in the tech sector could brainstorm solutions to the many issues LGBT face in the country. The Obama administration wants to create policies to improve trans lives in the United States, but needs more information on the issues that trans people face on a daily basis. The hashtag aims to address this by providing trans people with the opportunity to share our needs and experiences with policy makers. The campaign ultimately hopes to show the federal government what the needs of our community are, in addition to recommending the best way to address the needs of trans people.

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has played a significant role in gathering and distributing this information about trans experiences that can educate and inform policymakers.

NCTE has long been aware of the need for more information about trans lives and experience. We have advocated with many government agencies about the need for the government to include transgender people in the various federal surveys that are conducted. And we have conducted our own surveys.

Most recently, NCTE conducted the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey, the largest survey of trans people to date. The U.S. Trans Survey is the follow up to the groundbreaking National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), which was released in the 2011 report Injustice at Every Turn. The NTDS is currently the main source of data on transgender people living in the United States. However, when the results of the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey are released in 2016, we will have a larger and even more diverse sample of trans people living in the U.S. This data will be even more important because of its wider range, and can play a crucial role in improving trans inclusion in the country. The previous survey found that 53% of trans people faced harassment in places of public accommodation, and the updated data will be updated to account for the many efforts to include or exclude trans people in various states.

The #transneeds campaign will help provide additional means of collecting information on trans people. Needs include any problems trans people have faced, such as discrimination in housing and healthcare and trouble accessing bathrooms. By using the hashtag and sharing your story, your concerns will be incorporated into recommendations to policy makers. Ginger Chien a participant of the LGBT Summit, commented: “The mostly invisible transgender community is finally being seen through pop culture and social media, but the reality is that government processes and misunderstanding continue to hamper full participation in society.”

We need your story to make recommendations that reflect the needs of the community. The #transneeds initiative has an emphasis on accessibility: all you have to do is tag #transneeds on a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube post and talk about issues that you have faced. It is also possible to text your story to (844) 876-7637, but please do not call. This is an opportunity to share your story with not only the Obama administration, but also other policymakers. The #transneeds campaign will close on October 31.

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