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Trans research review

A comprehensive evidence review of evidence up to 2008

Researchers: Martin Mitchell
Published: May 2008


To provide the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) with a comprehensive review of evidence relating to transgender people.

This review informed EHRC thinking and provided a foundation from which new policy priorities and research could be identified.

It was published in 2008 and is still useful as a significant reference point today. You can download the report here.


Trans research questions - questions in surveys were wrongly categorising trans people as a third sex or as a form of sexual orientation. Lack of appropriate questions made assessing progress on equality for trans people virtually impossible.

Size of the trans population and community - there were no official estimates of the size of the trans population or plans to develop one. Best estimates are discussed. Little attention had been paid to the engagement of trans people as a community.

Attitudes towards trans people - levels of transphobia were high when conmpared to attitudes towards LGB people. Tackling transphobia needed to be a high priority.

Employment and economic status - trans people feared discrimination at work if they revealed their trans status or wanted to transition. They suffered restricted job opportunities and may suffer greater debt linked to their gender identity.

Hate crime and the criminal justice system - trans people experience high levels of hate crime but were reluctant to report it because they felt police did not understand them and would be discriminatory. They may also be over-represented in prisons.

Health, social care and relationships - there are long delays in trans people receiving gender reassignment treatment and they are often treated as a 'one size fits all'. They may be at greater risk of isolation, alcohol abuse, suicide, self-harm and HIV infection. There was viortually no research on trans family lives or support.

Housing- there is a high risk of homelessness and harassment by family, neighbours and the local community. There was no housing services specifically for trans people.

Media and sport - trans people were portrayed mainly undergoing gender reassignment surgery or as isolated individuals in the media. Problems arose for trans people trying to access changing facilities that then restricted access to sport and leisure facilities.


Literature searches and synthesis of existing reviews leading to a comprehensive consideration of quantitative and qualitative research studies and the methodologies used to support their findings.