Abstract: Differential Experiences of Dating Violence and Sexual Violence Among Trans/Gender Diverse Youth (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

Differential Experiences of Dating Violence and Sexual Violence Among Trans/Gender Diverse Youth

Saturday, January 15, 2022
Liberty Ballroom I, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Shanna Kattari, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Brittanie Atteberry-Ash, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Christopher Collins, MSW, Lcsw, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Leonardo Kattari, MSW, PhD Student, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Vern Harner, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Dating violence and forced sex are common among young people and rates are more elevated for young transgender and gender diverse (TGD) individuals. It is important to note, though, that the TGD population is not homogenous and there are differential experiences within this group, many of which have not previously been explored. This study explores how race, gender, sexual orientation, and age intersect with TGD status regarding experiences of both forced sex and dating violence.


This study, using data from the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (N=15,970), explores these differential within-group experiences of forced sex and dating violence. After examining missingness and removing cisgender participants to focus specifically on non-cisgender participants, the sample included 564 young people. The dependent variable of experiencing forced sex was captured with the question “Have you ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when you did not want to?” with a yes/no response set. Those who indicated “yes” were coded as 1 with all others were coded as 0. To capture the dependent variable regarding dating violence, respondents were asked, “During the past 12 months, how many times did someone you were dating or going out with physically hurt you on purpose? (Count such things as being hit, slammed into something, or injured with an object or weapon),” with a response set of “I did not date or go out with anyone during the past 12 months,” “0 times,” “1 time,” “2 or 3 times,” and “4 or more times.” Participants who did not answer were dropped, with the remaining responses coded to indicate if respondents had experienced dating violence (yes/no).


Findings indicate that some TGD sexual minorities (bisexual [OR = 2.50 /OR = 2.45] and questioning [OR = 1.52/OR = 3.75]) are more likely to experience forced sex and dating violence than their heterosexual peers, while lesbian/gay individuals only were more likely to experience dating violence [OR = 2.48]. All genders (transmasculine [OR = 2.52/OR =2.91], transfeminine [OR = 4.49/OR = 4.01], and nonbinary[OR = 3.86/OR = 4.77]) are more likely to experience both forced sex and dating violence than those unsure about their gender identity, and that Black [OR = 3.93] and Multiracial individuals [OR = 2.39] are more likely to experience dating violence than their White counterparts. Age was significant for forced sex [OR = 1.34 per year of age], but not dating violence.


In looking at this subsample of high school students who are TGD or unsure about their gender, we see very high rates of violence, with almost a quarter having experienced forced sex of some kind in the past year, and approximately 30% having experienced partner violence in the same time frame. While these numbers by themselves are alarming, breaking it down by identities within this TGD/unsure sample reveals further differential experiences within this population. These findings indicate the need for more trans-inclusive youth programing around sexual violence and dating violence, as well as taking a more intersectional and personalized approach to prevention work.