Gender-Based Violence Against Transgender People in the United States: A Call for Research and Programming

Andrea L. Wirtz, Tonia C. Poteat, Mannat Malik, Nancy Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Gender-based violence (GBV) is an umbrella term for any harm that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that results from power inequalities based on gender roles. Most global estimates of GBV implicitly refer only to the experiences of cisgender, heterosexually identified women, which often comes at the exclusion of transgender and gender nonconforming (trans) populations. Those who perpetrate violence against trans populations often target gender nonconformity, gender expression or identity, and perceived sexual orientation and thus these forms of violence should be considered within broader discussions of GBV. Nascent epidemiologic research suggests a high burden of GBV among trans populations, with an estimated prevalence that ranges from 7% to 89% among trans populations and subpopulations. Further, 165 trans persons have been reported murdered in the United States between 2008 and 2016. GBV is associated with multiple poor health outcomes and has been broadly posited as a component of syndemics, a term used to describe an interaction of diseases with underlying social forces, concomitant with limited prevention and response programs. The interaction of social stigma, inadequate laws, and punitive policies as well as a lack of effective GBV programs limits access to and use of GBV prevention and response programs among trans populations. This commentary summarizes the current body of research on GBV among trans populations and highlights areas for future research, intervention, and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-241
Number of pages15
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • gender nonconforming
  • gender-based violence
  • sexual and gender minorities
  • syndemics
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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