WOODLAND PARK, N.J. — Every 10 years, Americans fill out census surveys identifying our age, race, hometown and other demographic traits to help determine areas in need of financial and social support. But those questionnaires have yet to dig into experiences and needs of LGBTQ people.

The U.S. Transgender Survey asks extensive questions about lived experiences of transgender, nonbinary and other gender-diverse people. It’s one of few sources that collects data about these communities, and it’s returned for the third round of responses after a seven year gap.

The National Center for Transgender Equality, along with several partners, launched the 2022 survey in October. Responses collected in 2015 created what’s considered the largest, most effective dataset about transgender people and is cited almost daily, according to U.S. Trans Survey and Special Projects Director Josie Caballero.  

“When we leave communities uncounted, it makes it easier for people to spread the myth that trans people don’t exist,” said Caballero. “It is so critical to make sure that those stories are quantitatively collected in a dataset so we can report these lived experiences and social outcomes.”

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The survey goes past respondents’ surface-level gender expression. It asks questions about relationships and family structures, how safe one feels using certain restrooms, what existing as trans at work and school looks like and more. It interrogates respondents about social issues trans people often face, like domestic violence, negative interactions with police and estrangement from loved ones because of their identities.

The term transgender is used throughout questions in the survey, but people of all gender-diverse experiences, such as nonbinary or Two Spirit, can participate. There are numerous labels people use to define their gender, but transgender is typically used as a catch-all term.