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National Report Surveys Experiences Of Transgender Community

Local Advocate Says People Need To Be More Accepting

People march in support of transgender rights at a North Carolina rally. 
Skip Foreman/AP Photo

A recent survey of transgender adults in the United States showed 77 percent remembered experiencing some form of mistreatment in kindergarten through 12th grade. More than half of those who were mistreated were verbally harassed, according to the study, which was put together by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Owen Karcher, an art therapist and member of the Wisconsin Transgender Health Coalition, said acknowledging transgender people as individuals is the first step in acceptance.

“I think we can recognize that trans people are members of our community,” Karcher said. “They’re our neighbors. They’re our coworkers. They’re our friends. They’re our classmates. We need to show we can be a lot more humane in treating transgender people and understanding them.”

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The survey also revealed transgender people are nine times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population. Karcher said more resources are necessary to assist transgender people with the challenges they face.

“I provide therapy for trans people, and some people are driving up to three hours one way just to see me in my practice,” Karcher said. “They don’t have resources in their communities that they feel comfortable going to.”

Karcher said people need to be more accepting and cognizant of the issues transgender people deal with in everyday life.

More than 500 people from Wisconsin took part in the survey.