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Essay History Law/Legal Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

‘‘I Fear for My Safety, but Want to Show Bravery for Others’’: Violence and Discrimination Concerns Among Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Individuals After the 2016 Presidential Election

By Cindy B. Veldhuis, Laurie Drabble, Ellen D.B. Riggle, Angie R. Wootton, and Tonda L. Hughes , 2018

In general, transgender individuals report experiencing high levels of discrimination and violence, as well as high levels of safety concerns and a need to be vigilant to the safety of their environs. The stress that arises from these high levels of violence and discrimination has sizable effects on mental and physical health. The results of the 2016 presidential election raised concerns that the rhetoric used during the campaign and the potential rollback of rights could result in higher rates of violence and discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. In the current study, we conducted an internet-based mixed methods study among a national convenience sample (N = 242) to better understand transgender, genderqueer, and gender-nonconforming individuals’ concerns about, and experiences with, discrimination, violence, and hate crimes after the 2016 presidential election. Data for the current study were collected between December 2016 and May 2017. Quantitative analyses revealed that participants reported high levels of election-related concerns, including high levels of concerns about safety and discrimination since the election. Furthermore, a majority of respondents had been directly exposed to hate speech and violence. Qualitative responses centered around concerns related to the emboldening and legitimization of hate speech and violence, and the effects on respondents and their relationships. Our findings suggest a need for intervention and prevention efforts aimed at improving resiliency, as well as the need for continuing existing supportive policies, enacting policies on federal and state levels to document antitrans violence, and passing nondiscrimination legislation inclusive of gender identity. Keywords: hate crimes, transgender individuals, safety, discrimination

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