AUSTIN (KXAN) — A nationwide survey of transgender people in the U.S. launched Wednesday, and the team behind it hopes for a successful follow-up to the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey.
The results of the 2022 U.S. Trans Survey will give researchers a point of comparison to the 2015 results. It also asks several new questions not previously covered, such as how the transgender community handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
Josie Caballero, director of the USTS for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), said that information gleaned from the survey will help the public understand transgender lives and experiences.
“It fills in some of the large gaps in research about trans people, and it provides a critical tool for researchers, policymakers and advocates seeking to better understand the needs of trans people,” Caballero said. “We are very hopeful to continue the massive outpouring of people who are taking the survey as we speak.”
In 2015, 28,000 people took the survey. Prior to Wednesday, 36,000 people pledged to take the survey.
Caballero understands that others in her community may be hesitant to participate in the study.
“One of my big goals was to make this a community-led survey, by trans people for trans people, to help build trust in our community,” Caballero said. “We made sure to connect with queer and trans national organizations. We were able to get the survey in the hands of community leaders to help the community understand the importance of this survey.”
The NCTE partnered with the TransLatin@ Coalition, the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, among other organizations.
“2015 was a different world than it is right now in 2022. Non-binary identities have really come forth in such a strong and beautiful way that we have actually expanded our section on gender identity and expression. We wanted to make sure everybody in the survey was seen,” Caballero said.
She isn’t worried about non-transgender people taking the survey, as the team built-in safeguards to identify bad-faith behavior.
“It helps inform our population and we will have a breakout report for the state. Your data will help inform Texans and lawmakers about the direct impacts of trans social outcomes. It isn’t just going into a larger pool, so please take the survey.”
“The 2022 survey, I saw it on all of my social media, but I also got it sent to me by friends,” said Austin minister Rev. Remington Johnson. “I think the trans community is wary when people ask for our information. I understand the safeguards that in that are in place, but at the same time, this is all happening within the backdrop of a growing political and civil climate that is particularly unwelcome to trans people.”
Johnson plans to take the survey and hopes that the rest of Austin’s transgender community also participates.
“The reason that this survey is important is because numbers matter, data matters. It isn’t so much about who one individual trans person is, but that we collectively are sharing our data. When an allocation of funds, private or public, happens, this survey helps direct where those funds may go so that our communities get more help, and more of us can thrive,” Johnson said.