Editor’s note: This is from a press release Jose Arballo Jr., senior public information specialist, Riverside University Health System-Public Health, provided last week.
Thomi Clinton is not surprised when she hears that three-quarters of those who responded to a survey of transgender individuals in the Inland Empire have seriously considered suicide.
“The pressure on those within the transgender community, both externally and internally, can be overwhelming,” said Clinton, who heads the Transgender Community Coalition. “There can be feelings of isolation, a lack of understanding and belief that others outside the transgender community don’t care about you.”
Part of the problem, health officials and others say, is the lack of information about those within the transgender community. Officials hope the release of the first Inland Empire Transgender Health and Wellness Profile will be a start in the right direction.
The first-of-its-kind report comes three years after Riverside County health officials published a health and wellness assessment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, which sparked productive discussion on how the health and welfare of these underserved populations can be improved.
One of the findings of the 2014 report was that little information was available about the region’s transgender community and gathering data about this population was critical.
“We viewed the earlier report as a stepping stone that showed the need for more information,” said Sarah Mack, director of Riverside University Health System-Public Health, which gathered the data for the transgender report. “Using the information in this report will help focus on areas of need, but it is the first step in a long process.”
The needs-assessment report used information gathered from 90 individuals from throughout the Inland Empire who identified themselves as transgender. The data was collected and analyzed by Public Health’s Epidemiology and Program Evaluation division, which sought out input from various community partners during the editing process.
Among the findings:
• Current studies estimate the transgender population of the Inland Empire at nearly 27,000 people.
• Respondents to the survey had higher education levels but lower income levels than the general population.
• More than half (56.7 percent) of respondents have been physically and/or emotionally abused by a partner or someone close to them.
• A quarter of respondents reported experiencing verbal harassment at work, and nearly three quarters of respondents reported being bullied or harassed by other students at school.
More than half of respondents said they were very or somewhat uncomfortable seeking help from the police.
• Nearly 20 percent of respondents reported being kicked out of their family home.