Volume 16, Issue 6 e12983

Violence against transgender people in the United States: Field growth, data dilemmas, and knowledge gaps

Laurel Westbrook

Corresponding Author

Laurel Westbrook

Department of Sociology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA


Laurel Westbrook, Department of Sociology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA.

Email: [email protected]

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First published: 08 May 2022
Citations: 2


Violence against transgender people is a prevalent but understudied form of gender-based violence. In recent years, this body of literature has expanded substantially. However, analysis of violence experienced by transgender people has been hampered by a shortage of good data. This article explores those data dilemmas and details what is and is not currently known about violence against transgender people in the United States. National surveys with sample sizes large enough to facilitate comparisons between transgender and cisgender respondents as well as attend to diversity with the category of transgender tend to not ask questions that count transgender respondents. Moreover, when they do, surveys often do not follow established best practices. Additionally, qualitative research on this topic is underfunded, resulting in small sample sizes with similar constraints. Therefore, although there is increased knowledge around rates of violence for transgender versus cisgender people, differences in risk related to gender and race, and intimate partner and sexual violence, this knowledge is flawed and does not cover the range of violence that transgender people experience. To better address this topic, data collection and analysis must be improved and scholars should attend to ways to prevent violence against transgender people.