A new report from an Atlanta-based transgender advocacy group has revealed that nearly half of transgender and non-binary Southerners have experienced “high levels of violence by law enforcement.”

The Grapevine: A Southern Trans Report, released by the Transgender Law Center at Southerners on New Ground (TLC@SONG) on Tuesday (May 14), details the reported experiences of trans and non-binary people living in the South.

Of the 135 respondents, 32 percent identified as trans women, 31 percent as gender non-binary, and 20 percent as trans masculine. 44 percent identified as queer and 28 percent identified as gay. Most people surveyed ranged from 18 to 45 years old.

47 percent of these respondents reported facing violence from strangers – a number that rises to 58 percent when only looking at trans women. 41 percent reported experiencing violence from police and 40 percent from healthcare providers. When looking only at trans people of color, the rate of reported police violence rises to 52 percent.

“As a Black trans woman in the South, I’m personally all too familiar with the findings laid out today,” said Kayla Gore, the Southern Regional Organizer for TLC@SONG. “The one constant through the widespread discrimination we face is our ability to support and rely on each other, which is why it’s incredibly powerful to have data created by and for trans and gender nonconforming people living in the South.”

The issues of healthcare and police violence were reported to be the largest issues that prompted trans Southerners to make change in the community. A majority of survey participants identified access to HIV-inclusive healthcare (75 percent) and law enforcement accountability (64 percent) as the biggest issues that “move you to gather your community and create change.”

Gore said that this report can be what trans Southerners need to create this change.

“Trans Southerners like me can use the Grapevine Report as proof of our lived experiences,” she said, “as we advocate for the resources, services, and solutions out communities need.”

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