"Housing Insecurity Seems to Almost Go Hand in Hand with Being Trans": Housing Stress among Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Individuals in New Orleans

J Urban Health. 2019 Oct;96(5):751-759. doi: 10.1007/s11524-019-00384-y.


Housing is an important social determinant of physical and mental health. Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals (T/GNCI) face a unique constellation of discrimination and compromised social services, putting them at risk for housing insecurity, homelessness, and its associated public health concerns. This study explores housing insecurity among T/GNCI in New Orleans, LA, where the infrastructural landscape is marked by an underinvestment in housing stock and disaster capitalism. In-depth interviews were conducted with T/GNCI (n = 17) living in New Orleans, identified through purposive sampling. Semi-structured guides were used to elicit personal stories and peer accounts of insecure housing experiences and coping strategies. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Data was coded, sorted, and analyzed for key themes using NVIVO 11. Respondents discussed an array of circumstances that contribute to housing insecurity, including intersectional stigma and discrimination coupled with gentrification and a changing housing landscape in the city. Housing was intricately intertwined with employment and other structural issues; vulnerability in one realm was closely tied to insecurity in the others. Social support and queer family structures emerged as a key source of resilience, coping, and survival. The study supports an increase of resources for T/GNC housing access and interventions that address the cyclical discrimination, housing, and employment issues this population faces with a consideration of the historical and current structural barriers impeding their access to safe, stable, long-term housing.

Keywords: Gender non-conforming; Homelessness; Housing Insecurity; New Orleans, LA; Transgender.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Employment
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • New Orleans
  • Prejudice
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Stigma
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Transgender Persons / statistics & numerical data*