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Queer & Trans People of Color


QTPOC or Queer & Trans People of Color is a vast and intersectional topic that deserves a website unto itself. More than one in four trans people has faced a bias-driven assault, and rates are higher for trans women and trans people of color.

While we may not get into every area of this subject, this section will provide an overview on the topic and offer resources for more information.

Image by Andra C Taylor Jr
Image by Dibakar Roy

Trans and non-binary people of color face many specific challenges. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey: Report on the Experiences of Black Respondents, "transgender people of color who completed the survey experienced deeper and broader forms of discrimination than white USTS respondents and people in the U.S. population overall".


Black respondents reported higher rates of sexual violence, poverty, and homelessness, as well as less comfort reaching out to police, medical professionals, and shelters.


Discrimination was pervasive for the entire sample, but anti-transgender bias coupled with structural racism meant that transgender people of color experienced particularly devastating levels of discrimination, with Black respondents often faring worse than all others. Among the key findings of the analysis released from the Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey:

  • Black transgender people had an extremely high unemployment rate at 26 percent, two times the rate of the overall transgender sample and four times the rate of the general population.

  • A startling 41 percent of Black respondents said they had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives, more than five times the rate of the general U.S. population.

  • Black transgender people lived in extreme poverty with 34 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000 per year. This is more than twice the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), four times the general Black population rate (9 percent), and eight times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent).

  • Black transgender people were affected by HIV in devastating numbers. More than one-fifth of respondents were living with HIV (20.23 percent), compared to a rate of 2.64 percent for transgender respondents of all races, 2.4 percent for the general Black population, and 0.60 percent of the general U.S. population.


As with their counterparts in the Black Community, Latino/Latina/LatinX transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people according to a new analysis released this past summer, Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Latino/a Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

Among the key findings from the report

  • Latino/a transgender people had a very high unemployment rate at 20 percent, higher than the overall transgender sample (14 percent) and more nearly three times the rate of the general population at the time the survey was fielded (7 percent).

  • Latino/a transgender people often live in extreme poverty with 28 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This is nearly double the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), over five times the general Latino/a population rate (5 percent), and seven times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent). The rate for Latino/a non-citizen respondents was 43 percent.

  • Latino/a transgender people were affected by HIV in devastating numbers. One in twelve Latino/a respondents were HIV-positive and an additional 10 percent reported that they did not know their status.

  • Forty-seven percent of Latino/a respondents reported having attempted suicide.

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The QTPOC community is made up of many races, genders, ethnic backgrounds, and cultures. The key element to remember, is despite whatever their differences with each other, the QTPOC community faces types of oppression and stigmatization on levels their white and white-passing counterparts do not. 

That is because the discrimination that LGBTQ+ people of color experience and the resources they have to combat it are compounded by their intersecting identities.

The National Black Justice Coalition focuses on the intersection of racial justice and LGBTQ rights. Isaiah Wilson, the coalition's director of external affairs, says LGBTQ people of color are "the most impacted communities" when it comes to discrimination, "be it trans military service, be it access to health care, or if you look at employment."

And according to demographic data collected by the Williams Institute, black LGBTQ people are more likely to live where other black folks live — many of them in the South, says Wilson, "where we don't have state and local protections to be out."

Wilson says given this compounded discrimination, LGBTQ people of color need support. But they don't always get it — because the LGBTQ movement at large has had different priorities. Namely, organizing around the fight for marriage equality that culminated with the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

"When you're continuing as a community to face discrimination, harassment, even violence," Wilson explains, "marriage is a luxury. Surviving, being able to participate in community, being able to provide for our families — if I can't do that, who's thinking about a marriage certificate?"

And while communities of color come together around the discrimination and harassment they face, they may not always see LGBTQ issues as part of the same struggle.


For learning more on the issues QTPOC face and the ongoing struggle for Trans* and Gender Non-Conforming rights, check out some of the links below!

*Freedom, Inc.

Freedom, Inc. (FI) is a Black and Southeast Asian non-profit organization that works with low- to no-income communities of color. Our mission is to achieve social justice through coupling direct services with leadership development and community organizing that will bring about social, political, cultural, and economic change resulting in the end of violence against women, gender-non-conforming and transgender folks, and children within communities of color. FI works to challenge the root causes of violence, poverty, racism and discrimination. Our belief is that people who are most affected by these issues must have voice, power, resources and choice, in order for true social change to happen.

*Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County

Orgullo Latinx LGBT+ of Dane County is a program that has been created to support and enhance the lives of the Latinx LGBT+ community in Dane County. Orgullo Latinx LGBT+’s mission is to build a safe, ethnically, equitable and racial social just place for the Latinx LGBT+ community in Dane County where the LGBT+ community can thrive. This initiative’s vision consists in engaging the community to cultivate an equitable and safe environment for the LGBT+ Latinx community.

*Living at the Intersections

Trans people living at the intersections of other marginalized identities, such as immigrants, people of color, and people with disabilities, experience higher rates of violence and often face unique barriers to safety. While there are many gaps in current research, this section provides available information on the experiences of some of these multiply marginalized survivors.


Issues impacting LGBT communities of color

*Funders for LGBTQ Issues - People of Color

Thirty-nine percent of LGBTQ adults identify as people of color, including 15 percent who identify as Latinx, 11 percent as Black, two percent as Asian Pacific Islander, and one percent as Native American. This is more diverse than the overall U.S. adult population, which is 65 percent white. The higher representation of people of color in LGBTQ communities is in part related to age. With increasing acceptance of LGBTQ people, younger generations are more likely to be out as LGBTQ. Younger people are also more likely to be of color, which is the main reason that a large proportion of people of color identify as LGBTQ. From service provision to movement building, there is a need to respond and adapt to a new generation in the U.S. that is more diverse than any previous generation in terms of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

*Where We Call Home: LGBT POC In Rural America

Media coverage often portrays rural America as singularly white, conservative and working-class. Yet at least 10 million people of color, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people of color, call rural America home.

*Latino Transgender Discrimination Prevention

Latino and Latina transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people according to a new analysis released this past summer, Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Latino/a Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

*National LGBTQ Task Force

Black transgender and gender non-conforming people face some of the highest levels of discrimination of all transgender people according to a new analysis released today, Injustice at Every Turn: A Look at Black Respondents in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

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