About the Survey
The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS) is the largest survey ever devoted to the lives and experiences of transgender people, with 27,715 respondents across the United States. The USTS was conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality in the summer of 2015, and the results provide a detailed look at the experiences of transgender people across a wide range of areas, such as education, employment, family life, health, housing, and interactions with police and prisons.
Purpose of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey
Research: The USTS provides much-needed information to help the public understand the lives and experiences of transgender people in the United States and the disparities that many transgender people face. The USTS fills in some of the large gaps in research about transgender people, and it provides critical tools for researchers, policymakers, and advocates seeking to better understand the needs of transgender people and to find ways to improve their lives. The USTS also provides a benchmark that will help us learn how those experiences are changing over time. The 2015 USTS serves as a follow-up to the 2008-09 National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), and supplements the NTDS' groundbreaking findings with more current and comprehensive data.
Benchmark: Many questions in the USTS were modeled after questions used in federal surveys, allowing for comparisons between the USTS sample and the U.S. population as a whole. This was important for demonstrating the disparities faced by transgender people in the U.S. across a number of areas, such as in unemployment, poverty, and health. Additionally, we expect that the USTS will be conducted every five years, which will allow us to measure changes in the experiences of transgender people over time.
Education & Advocacy: The USTS is an important resource for use in public education and advocacy about transgender people, the patterns of discrimination many transgender people face, and the need for policy and social change to improve their lives.
Meet the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Team
Sandy James, Research Director (2014-2017), Lead Author (He, Him)
As the Research Director at NCTE and lead author of the report of the 2015 U.S.Transgender Survey, Sandy James led the effort to collect the data, conduct survey outreach, analyze the data, and present the findings in the main report and a range of breakout reports.
After a career as a forensic toxicologist, Sandy became a civil rights advocate with a focus on laws and policies that affect trans people. Sandy previously worked extensively with the National Transgender Discrimination Survey as the Urvashi Vaid Research Fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force. Sandy received a J.D. and an M.A. in American Government from Georgetown University and is pursuing his Ph.D. at Georgetown University.
Ma’ayan Anafi, Co-Author
As a co-author, Ma’ayan Anafi was a major contributor in reviewing USTS data and writing the report. Ma’ayan serves as a Policy Counsel at the National Center for Transgender Equality. As part of the NCTE team, Ma’ayan has worked to combat discrimination against transgender people and improve policies affecting their lives at the state and federal levels. Ma’ayan obtained a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from the University of Toronto.
Ignacio Rivera, Survey Outreach Coordinator (They, Them) (March-September 2015)
As Survey Outreach Coordinator, Ignacio worked with the research team to develop and execute an outreach plan that ensures trans people throughout the country were represented in the 2015 US Trans Survey. Inspired by lived experiences with homelessness, poverty, and discrimination, Ignacio has been an advocate for over 20 years on economic justice, anti-racist and anti-imperialist work, and feminist and LGBTQ movements.
Ignacio is one of the founding board members for Queers for Economic Justice and is the Director of Training for the Global Trans Research and Advocacy Project (GTRAP).
Danielle Stevens, Survey Outreach Fellow (They, Them) (Spring 2015)
As the Survey Outreach Fellow, Danielle worked to conduct outreach to organizations, groups, and individuals throughout the country, building coalitions and support to ensure that the survey can be accessed by trans people across the country.
As a grassroots organizer and community healer, Danielle brought a unique perspective to their role as the USTS Outreach Fellow. As a gender-nonconforming femme person and lover engaged in work related to anti-oppression education, social justice activism, and community organizing (particularly within femme, queer, and trans people of color communities), Danielle’s life work is engaging in coalition and movement building amongst various communities, as our liberation depends on it.
Venus Selenite, Survey Outreach Fellow (She, Her) (Spring 2015)
As the Survey Outreach Intern, Venus coordinated various methods to connect individuals and organizations in promoting the survey and maintained the outreach database.
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she is a recent transplant to Washington, D.C. Venus is also a writer, performance artist, and advocate whose work explores limitless intersections and lived experiences of race, sexuality, and gender.
Rodrigo Aguayo-Romero, Survey Intern (He, Him) (Winter-Summer 2015)
As Survey Intern, Rodrigo worked with the Research Director on the development and implementation of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.
Rodrigo is a doctoral student in the Clinical/Community Psychology program at The George Washington University. His research interests are focused on risk behaviors and disparities faced by ethno-racial gender and sexual minorities living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk. He is interested in examining distal and proximal minority stress factors impacting HIV among transgender individuals from a syndemics framework.
Jody Herman, Co-Principal Investigator, Co-Author (She, Her)
Jody L. Herman holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from The George Washington University, where she also earned her M.A. in Public Policy. She has worked on issues of poverty, women’s rights, and anti-discrimination policy development with non-profit research, advocacy, and direct-service organizations in the U.S. and Mexico. Her research focuses on discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Dr. Herman was a co-author of Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. She currently serves as the Williams Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law.
Mara Keisling, Co-Author (She, Her)
Mara Keisling is the founding Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, one of the nation’s leading social justice organization winning life-saving change for the transgender people. After a 25-year career in survey research, Mara helped found NCTE and quickly became one of the nation’s foremost authorities on transgender issues. Mara has led organizational and coalition efforts that have won significant advances in transgender equality throughout the country, especially in federal law and policy. Under her leadership, NCTE has won well over 100 federal policy changes that have improved the lives of transgender people. Mara was a co-author of Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. A native of Pennsylvania and a transgender woman, Mara holds a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University and conducted her graduate studies in American Government at Harvard University.
Willem Miller, USTS Intern (He, Him) (Spring 2016)
As U.S. Transgender Survey Intern, Willem primarily worked with the Research Director to conduct research, edit, and create content during the report-writing phase of the project.
Willem studies at Georgetown University where he is a Mathematics and Statistics major. He is heavily involved in GU Pride, having served as VP of Community from 2015 to 2016 and currently as VP of Activism. On campus, Willem also works as a Residential Assistant.
Shabab Ahmed Mirza, Survey Project Assistant (She, Her) (Winter 2016)
Shabab helped document the extensive survey outreach for publication in the U.S. Transgender Survey report, assisted with research, and provided general project support.
As an organizer and researcher, Shabab is passionate about uplifting the stories of marginalized populations using art, data, and any other means necessary. Shabab was selected as a 2014 Young Leaders Institute fellow for South Asian Americans Leading Together, and serves on the Trans Justice Committee of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance. Shabab currently serves as a research assistant at the Center for American Progress' LGBT Research and Communications Project. She is from Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Lisa Mottet, Co-Author (She, Her)
Lisa Mottet joined the National Center for Transgender Equality as the Deputy Executive Director in 2013, where she helps guide policy advocacy, communications, and fundraising. In her previous position as Director of the Transgender Civil Rights Project at the National LGBTQ Task Force (formerly the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), she was a member of the research team for the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. She is also the author of Opening the Door to Transgender Inclusion: The Nine Keys to Making LGBT Organizations Fully Transgender-Inclusive and Transitioning Our Shelters: A Guide to Making Homeless Shelters Safe for Transgender People. Lisa received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2001.
Susan Rankin, Co-Principal Investigator (She, Her)
Dr. Susan (Sue) Rankin retired from the Pennsylvania State University in 2013 where she most recently served as an Associate Professor of Education. Dr. Rankin has presented and published widely on the intersections of identities and the impact of sexism, genderism, racism and heterosexism in the academy and in intercollegiate athletics. Dr. Rankin’s most recent publications include the 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People, The Lives of Transgender People, and the 2011 NCAA Student-Athlete Climate Study. Dr. Rankin has collaborated with over 120 institutions/organizations in implementing climate assessments and developing strategic initiatives regarding social justice issues. Dr. Rankin consulted on the 2008-09 National Transgender Discrimination Survey.
Jeymee Semiti, Survey Project Assistant (She, Her) (Fall-Winter 2016)
With her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, strong research skills, and multicultural background, Jeymee brings unique perspective to the survey project. Before coming on board as a research assistant for the launch of the 2015 U.S Transgender Survey, Jeymee was a General Support Intern at NCTE, where she partook in efforts to combat anti-trans legislation including the contentious HB2, worked with the team to draft inspirational blog posts, updated and analyzed policy memos on important releases such as the recent anti-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, and organized databases with valuable resources for the trans community, coalition partners, and allies. As an aspiring advocate, she has conducted transgender cultural competency trainings with Trans Legal Advocates of Washington and is a successful litigant who advocated for her rights against working in a hostile environment. For Jeymee, being a part of this historic venture is a major stepping stone in finding her niche and pathway in LGBT- and POC-centered policymaking and advocacy.
USTS Advisory Committee (UAC)
The USTS Advisory Committee (UAC) worked with the survey team to ensure the success of the largest survey of transgender people in the United States. Members include advocates and individuals who brought their expertise and lived experience to the USTS to ensure that the survey was inclusive of a diverse range of transgender people, including non-binary people, and that the results represented and reflected the reality of the experiences of transgender people across the country.