Number of Americans who report knowing a transgender person doubles in seven years, according to new GLAAD survey

U.S. adults in the west, Millennials most likely to know a transgender person
September 17, 2015

Seth Adam
Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8018

Matt Goodman
Associate Director of Communications, GLAAD
(646) 871-8028

New York, NY – GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LBGT) media advocacy organization, today released the findings of a new survey, conducted online by Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults age 18+, which shows that the number of Americans who report knowing or working with someone who is transgender has doubled in the past seven years – rising from 8% in 2008 to 16% today.

"We know that someone who personally knows a member of the LGBT community is much more likely to be accepting," said Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO & President of GLAAD. "At a time when transgender people still face staggering rates of discrimination, poverty, and violence, it is crucial that we continue to increase visibility and accelerate acceptance of trans people everywhere."

"Though the number of Americans who say that they personally know someone who is transgender has grown, 84% of Americans continue to learn about transgender people through the media," said Nick Adams, Director of Programs for Transgender Media at GLAAD. "Therefore it's crucial that the media increase and improve the coverage of transgender issues, and that transgender people have the opportunity to tell their own stories about our lives and the issues we face."

Regionally, the American West had the highest percentage of adults who personally know or work with a transgender person with 21%, while those in the Northeast were the least likely with 13% (vs. 14% South, and 15% Midwest).

Additional findings include:

  • Over a quarter (27%) Millennials say they personally know or work with a transgender person, with 30% of female Millennials saying this  

  • Those age 18-44 are more than twice as likely as those age 45+ to say this (24% vs. 9%)

For over two decades, GLAAD has been working to make sure that transgender stories are told fairly and accurately in the media, and to amplify the voices of transgender people.

GLAAD has had transgender staff members and interns since 1998, and GLAAD's Media Reference Guide on transgender terminology and issues was first distributed to the media in 1999. In 2013, GLAAD formally dropped its full name – the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation – as another sign of our ongoing commitment to the transgender community. This history, along with the creation of a dedicated Transgender Media Program, is part of GLAAD’s all-inclusive commitment to transgender people.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of GLAAD from August 19-21, 2015 among 2,024 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Seth Adam at