, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 50-64

Capturing the social demographics of hidden sexual minorities: An internet study of the transgender population in the United States

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Abstract

As part of a larger study, we investigated the feasibility of using Internet research to capture the demographic characteristics of a largely closeted sexual minority and to report such characteristics in the first national study of transgender persons ever attempted in the United States. To achieve a nonclinical national sample, online convenience sampling was used. Of 1,373 surveys received, 1,229 (90%) were deemed complete and from unique individuals self-identifying as transgender, 18 years or older, and U.S. residents. Participation approximated that predicted by the U.S. Census (2000). Comparison with census data identified the sample as younger, White (non-Hispanic), single, more educated but with less household income, living in smaller towns to medium-sized cities, and less affiliated with traditional Christian denominations. Demographic characteristics differed significantly by both gender and transgender status. The challenge of achieving demographically representative sampling online, as well as implications for future research and policy, are discussed.