New Democracy Maps

Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America

The Bottom Line

Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America paints a stark portrait of the economic insecurities that leave transgender people with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Transgender Americans face clear financial penalties simply because they are transgender and are left economically vulnerable because of two primary failures of law:

  • Pervasive discrimination and a lack of legal protections mean that transgender people struggle to find work and safe housing, face challenges updating critical identity documents, make less on the job, and have higher medical costs than their non-transgender peers.
  • Failure to adequately protect transgender students means that transgender people and their families often face a hostile, unsafe, or unwelcoming school environments. Harassment, bullying, and violence can make it difficult, if not impossible, for transgender students to obtain the skills and education they need to succeed.

Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America offers broad recommendations for helping strengthen economic security for transgender Americans, such as instituting basic nondiscrimination protections at the federal and state level and protecting students from discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project and Center for American Progress. February 2015. Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America. (date of access).

Stay Informed

Be the first to know about new reports and MAP news by signing up for our newsletter

Request User Access

A limited set of materials is restricted to the staff and board members of LGBTQ movement organizations. Click below to request user access.

Join MAP

View our privacy policy.

Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

Choose an Issue

Choose an Issue