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Darren Whitfield, MSW, University of Denver
Shanna K.Kattari,M.Ed, University of Denver
Lisa Langenderfer – Magruder, MSW, University of Denver
Council on Social Work Education Annual Meeting, October 26, 2014
Learning Objectives
 Describe the prevalence of discrimination experienced by
trans* people who access social services.
 Discuss how the intersection of race and gender identity
influences the rate of discrimination for trans* people who
access social services.
 Facilitate a discussion of the skills needed to address
transphobia and racism in social work educational settings to
reduce anti-trans discrimination in social service settings.
Working Definition
A Need for Social Services
 Trans* individuals are more likely to experience discrimination
compared to heterosexuals and lesbian, gay, and bisexual
cisgender people. 1
 The prevalence of mental health disorders among trans*
individuals is higher than the heterosexual and lesbian, gay,
and bisexual cisgender individuals. 2
 Transphobia results in negative health outcomes for members
this community, including a higher risk for substance abuse.
 Extant empirical research suggest that approximately 9.2% of
trans* reported partner violence in 20 states. 5
 Current prevalence studies suggest that between 15% to 86%
of transgender individuals have reported being a victim of
sexual assault or rape. 6, 7
Prevalence of Transphobia in Social Services
 When attempting to access mental health, drug treatment and
domestic violence, and rape crisis services trans* individuals
encounter the following common barriers: 8-10
Outright denial of services based on their gender identity
Inappropriate behavior of clinicians
Disregard of their gender identity by clinicians and their staff
Being required to use facilities based on their genitalia and not
their gender identity (e.g., showering and sleeping facilities)
 Being mandated to wear clothing that is ascribed their natal sex.
 Similarly, trans* people of color report experiencing
discrimination and harassment when utilizing social services.
Current Study
 Examines the intersection of gender identity and race to
determine if there is a difference in the experience of
transphobia in social services utilization for trans* people of
 What is the overall prevalence of discrimination of trans*
individual when access mental health, substance abuse, and
domestic violence services?
 Is there a difference in the rate of discrimination for trans*
people of color who access mental health, drug treatment, and
domestic violence services?
 Secondary data analysis using 2010 National Transgender
Discrimination Survey (N=6,456), collected by The National
Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay
and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF).
 Cleaned and recoded data according to the research question.
 Used SPSS to conduct Chi square test of independence to
determine a difference in transphobia in social service
utilization by racial background.
 The total sample size for analysis in the study was (N=6,451).
Sample Demographics
Key Findings
 A majority of trans* individuals reported by discriminated
against at mental health clinics, drug treatment programs,
domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers.
 Overall trans* people of color were statistically more likely to
report discrimination at all four social service settings
compared to White trans* individuals.
 When examining the disparity among racial/ethnic minority
groups, we find different rates of discrimination across the
different social service settings.
 Across all settings, Latino and bi/multiracial trans* individuals
experienced statistically significant rates of discrimination
compared to White trans* individuals.
 The data was collected using an Internet protocol therefore,
the sample is only a cross-sectional sample who have access
to the Internet.
 Individuals tend to underreport experiencing discrimination,
therefore these estimates may be underrepresentation of
actual discrimination.
 Thinking intersectional, we cannot definitively state that
individuals experienced discrimination based on their gender
identity and not due to their race or the combination of both
Implications to Social Work Practice
 The findings suggest this is a relationship between being
denied treatment at social service agencies and the
intersection of gender identity and race/ethnicity.
 BSW, MSW programs, and on-going professional education,
should focus not only on diversity regarding race and gender
identity, but also on intersectionality, and how clients with
multiple identities that are marginalized may be at an
exponentially greater risk of discrimination in social service
 As a profession, it is crucial for social workers, human services
professionals, and others who have contact with clients at
social service-providing agencies to actively work to reduce
discrimination and provide more culturally component and
inclusive services.
Trans* Community
Nemoto, T., Operario, D., & Keatley, J. (2005). Health and
social services for male-to-female transgender persons of
color in San Francisco. International Journal of
Transgenderism, 8(2-3), 5-19.
Budge, S. L., Adelson, J. L., & Howard, K. A. (2013). Anxiety
and depression in transgender individuals: The roles of
transition status, loss, social support, and coping. Journal of
consulting and clinical psychology, 81(3), 545. doi:
Clements, K. (1999). The transgender community health
project: Descriptive results. San Francisco: San Francisco
Department of Public Health.
Reback, C., & Lombardi, E. (1999). HIV risk behaviors of
male-to-female transgenders in a community-based harm
reduction program. The International Journal of
Transgenderism, 3 (1), 2.
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs [NCAVP].
(2013). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIVaffected intimate partner violence in 2012. Retrieved from
Clements-Nolle, K., Marx, R., & Katz, M. (2006). Attempted
suicide among transgender persons: The influence of
gender-based discrimination and victimization. Journal of
homosexuality, 51(3), 53-69.
Stotzer, R. L. (2009). Violence against transgender people: A
review of United States data. Aggression and Violent
Behavior, 14(3), 170-179.
Kosenko, K., Rintamaki, L., Raney, S., & Maness, K. (2013).
Transgender Patient Perceptions of Stigma in Health Care
Contexts. Medical care, 51(9), 819-822.
Rutherford, K., McIntyre, J., Daley, A., & Ross, L. (2012).
Development of expertise in mental health service provision
for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.
Medical Education, 46, 903=913.