The Incarceration of Trans, Nonbinary & Gender Expansive People

“Our young [trans] girls… [are] told very early on that they’re disposable. They lose their ability to believe in their talents, their ability to lead, to be able to exact change… I’d like to say to them, don’t give up, keep fighting, keep that resilience, and keep that brilliance.”

  – Shea Diamond, artist & activist   

Trans, non-binary and gender expansive people, particularly Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and especially Black trans women, are targeted, criminalized, and incarcerated at extremely disproportionate rates

Percent of trans & GNC* people who have been incarcerated prison or jail

trans women
0 %
trans men
0 %
GNC people
0 %
0 %

all trans and GNC people

*gender nonconforming

1 out of 2

Black trans & GNC people have been incarcerated during their lifetime

Trans & GNC people who have experienced incarceration in their lifetime

American Indian

Trans & gender expansive people are often

  • Forced into prisons and jails inconsistent with their gender

  • Held in unsafe housing

  • Kept in solitary confinement for months or even years solely because of their gender identity

“…I was in an environment where I wasn’t looked at as a woman. I wasn’t looked at as a person.  I wasn’t looked at as a human being.  I wasn’t looked at as having a right to live or to exist, or to even have a voice.”

  – Marcie Chase, trans activist  

8 in 10

trans & GNC people report emotional pain due to having to hide their gender identity in prison

Prison officials frequently subject trans & GNC people to:

“[I] break down crying when trying to explain to somebody what it’s like to be in a state prison or Rikers Island and to be physically beat half to death and raped, and misgendered and abused so much that you’re ready to take your own life.”

  – Xena Grandichelli,
trans activist & community organizer   


of trans people in prison report being denied hormone therapy

Countless others are denied gender-affirming surgery & healthcare

Incarcerated trans, nonbinary & gender expansive people are routinely erased in government studies because gender is reduced to sex assigned at birth

No federal government studies provide data about incarcerated nonbinary & gender expansive people

Only 1 federal government study estimates the number of incarcerated trans people

The study’s estimate of 4,918 is likely a significant undercount

We are deeply grateful to our expert reviewers whose brilliance grounded and informed this publication: Marcie Chase, Shea Diamond, Lynly Egyes, Xena Grandichelli, Chase Strangio, LaLa Zannell, and the Transgender Law Center.

To view the sources on this data or download the print version of this infographic click here.

Download the full infographic

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