I completed the US Trans Survey and you should, too!
My name is Becs, and I am a policy associate at Howard Brown Health. I identify as trans-masculine and use they/them (and sometimes he/him) pronouns. I recently took the 2022 US Trans Survey (USTS), and wanted to share about why this survey is so important and what my experience was like responding. Don’t miss your chance to take the 2022 USTS! The deadline to take the 2022 USTS is TODAY, December 5, 2022 at 11:59 PM PST.
The USTS is the main source of data on the lived experiences of trans and non-binary (TNB) people in the US. As a member of the public policy and advocacy team at Howard Brown, I rely on data from the USTS frequently. I have used USTS data in issue briefs to better illustrate a need for gender-affirming interventions for TNB survivors of sexual harm, in emails urging legislators to support the modernization of Illinois’ name change laws, and in public comments in support of proposed Federal protections for LGBTQ+ students. Advocates around the country similarly use USTS data to advocate for TNB rights and develop tailored interventions to address health disparities. The last time the USTS was conducted was in 2015, so this incredibly vital data source is becoming outdated—especially with so many recent threats and attacks on the TNB community.
My experience taking the survey was incredibly informative, interesting, and empowering. As a research and data-loving person, I was excited to take the survey based entirely on the strong reputation of the survey and the incredible team that creates the survey. As a newly out trans person, this is the first time that I could take the survey, and it helped me feel empowered and affirmed. The survey is “smart,” meaning that depending on the selections a participant makes, they may be presented with different sets of questions with a focus on using inclusive and affirming language for all.
Nuanced discussion of lived experiences and barriers. Questions like, “How much time do you live in a gender different than the one assigned to you at birth?” are followed up with “What are the reasons you don’t live all of the time in your gender?” This offers unique insights into the fears and barriers that TNB people face. When combined with standard demographic data, this data provides a cultural temperature check to assess what regions of the U.S. or particular subgroups may be facing particularly harmful barriers and disparities.
Life satisfaction, resilience, and future hopes. These topics are frequently overlooked in other surveys and research with TNB communities. The USTS offers respondents the ability to discuss resilience, happiness, community, and coping with stress. For example, the USTS asks about happiness and satisfaction before and after gender-affirming care, feelings of belonging or isolation, and even family planning. Many negative assumptions are made about TNB people, which is why gathering data on perseverance, positive experiences, and future hopes is so important.
Health access and Covid-19 impacts. Questions focused on ability to access insurance, affirming healthcare, and necessary document changes provide vital data as TNB people continue to experience discrimination in healthcare and insurance coverage. The survey also asks about provider knowledge about TNB health and experiences navigating HRT. The survey assessed frequency of depressed feelings and even offered resources to helplines. This data will help advocates continue to push to ensure TNB people receive the care that they need and deserve. New for this year, the USTS asks if COVID-19 policy changes like telehealth were beneficial and something that the community would to continue. This data will be fantastic to see, as many LGBTQ+ community health centers have seen positive responses to telehealth/virtual care models.
USTS asks about your experiences with police and the criminal justice system. They ask important questions about experiences in jail or prison, including housing assignments, misgendering, and experiences of sexual harm or harassment. The USTS provides a valuable opportunity to uplift and amplify the voices of those who have experienced injustice with the carceral system and forge long overdue changes in policing and the criminal justice system.
The survey took me just under an hour to complete but it was so well-made and informative that the time seemed to pass quickly. At the end, I felt really good about hitting submit knowing that my story and my experiences mattered and would be part of something so useful for TNB people. We need as many trans and non-binary people to take the survey as possible! Take the survey TODAY to ensure that your voice and experiences are included!