The comparative survey presented below emerged in response to the persistent need for evidence-based comparative data regarding the human-rights situation of trans and gender-diverse people. Complementing Transgender Europe’s (TGEU) on-going Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) and Legal and Social Mapping projects, it forms part of the international Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT) research project.
The present report complements these projects through in-depth, country-specific research on trans and gender-diverse people’s experiences with Transrespect and Transphobia. It is based on a survey questionnaire developed in 2010 and 2011 through an extensive review. Members of the international TvT Advisory Board from Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America and Oceania helped ensure the questionnaire’s transcultural adequacy so that it could be used in all world regions. During a three-day Strategic Planning Meeting in Berlin in October 2011, representatives of trans/LGBT organisations from India (People Like Us), the Philippines (Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines), Serbia (Gayten-LGBT), South Africa (Gender DynamiX), Tonga (Tonga Leiti Association) and Venezuela (DiverLex) met to discuss the peer-research concept and the distribution of the budget. While Gender DynamiX could not continue participating due to work overload, Pembe Hayat from Turkey joined in November 2011 and was later replaced by Red Umbrella from Turkey. In 2013 Thai Transgender Alliance from Thailand joined the team.
In 2012, the TvT Survey on the Social Experiences of Trans and Gender-diverse People was conducted in the Philippines, Serbia, Turkey, Tonga and Venezuela, as well as parts of India and Colombia, resulting in interviews with more than 660 trans and gender-diverse individuals. In 2014, the research was additionally implemented in Thailand, adding another 202 questionnaires to the already existing data. The data analysis was conducted in 2014 and 2015.
The survey concept involving the intended empowerment of research participants is based on peer-research approaches developed in response to distanced and objectifying forms of knowledge production. In particular, it has been adapted in modified form from the People Living with HIV Stigma Index developed in the Global South. The TvT survey is not meant to be an abstract academic exercise done ‘to’ trans and gender-diverse people’s communities; it is rather intended to embrace all those involved in a participatory spirit. Trans and gender-diverse people have been and will continue to be at the centre of the process as interviewers and interviewees, and are in charge of how the information is collected, analysed and used.
A more detailed description of the methodology can be found in here (Link to Methodology section) or in the report (link to report in TvT publication series).
The analysis of the 863 questionnaires from the Philippines, Serbia, Turkey, Tonga, Venezuela and parts of Colombia and India have revealed some surprising findings. These include the fact that for the vast majority of respondents in all countries, their gender identity is not recognised in their legal documents. Furthermore, the findings suggest a divergence between adult trans and gender-diverse people’s experiences of Transrespect, on the one hand, and discrimination and violence during childhood and adolescence, on the other. Particularly worrying are the results in regard to the experiences of trans and gender-diverse children and teenagers at school: in most countries, between more than a third and almost half of respondents reported that they experienced forms of sexual violence in school. The comparison of different religions in different countries shows that religious acceptance of trans and gender-diverse people cannot be attributed to the specific religions as such, but must be connected to the particular social and cultural contexts. Moreover, the study provides additional empirical data for issues that have long been addressed by activists, such as the intense forms of Transphobia in several social environments. Surprisingly, such forms of Transphobia also exist to some degree in countries that are perceived as rather trans-friendly and show moderate or even high levels of Transrespect, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Tonga. The survey furthermore demonstrates that police harassment and violence pose a persistent challenge in most countries, affecting trans sex workers in particular.
By providing evidence-based data on the discriminatory conditions activists have been combatting for a long time and revealing additional problem areas, this report highlights the need for further studies.
From the very beginning, TGEU has considered continuing and extending its cooperation with partner organisations in implementing the TvT survey in further countries. In 2014, TGEU started talks with the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) regarding the extension of the TvT survey to further Asian and Pacific countries. In 2015, a cooperation was decided on and formalised. Thus in 2016, APTN – in cooperation with TGEU – will implement the TvT survey in at least four more Asian countries.
TvT survey partners and country of implemented research
DiverLex – Venezuela and parts of Colombia
Gayten-LGBT – Serbia
Gender DynamiX – no research implementation
Pembe Hayat/Red Umbrella – Turkey
People Like Us – India (West Bengal)
Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines – The Philippines
Thai Transgender Alliance – Thailand
Tonga Leiti Association – Tonga