Black Transgender Women and the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Exploring the Relationship Between Anti-trans Experiences in School and Adverse Criminal-Legal System Outcomes

Kris Rosentel, Ileana López-Martínez, Richard A. Crosby, Laura F. Salazar, Brandon J. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: The school-to-prison pipeline (STPP), a framework which describes mechanisms and pathways within the education system that drive students toward involvement in the criminal-legal system, has seen increasing attention from youth researchers, professionals, and advocates in recent years. However, the experiences of transgender individuals and trans-related policies in schools have largely been absent from explorations of the STPP. To begin addressing this gap, this study explores the relationship between anti-trans experiences in school and adverse criminal-legal system outcomes among a sample of 138 Black/African American transgender women (ages 18–65). Methods: Data were derived from a life course survey of transgender women in Atlanta and Chicago conducted between August 2014 and September 2017. Only participants who were Black/African American were included in the analytic sample (n = 138). Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationship between education factors (high school/GED completion, anti-trans school victimization, anti-trans school expulsion/denial of enrollment, and denial of gender-appropriate facilities) and criminal-legal system factors (incarceration, anti-trans police mistreatment, and discomfort seeking police assistance). Analyses were conducted for both the full sample and youth subsample of 83 participants (age 30 or younger). Results: Among the overall sample, logistic regression models revealed that anti-trans school expulsion/denial of enrollment was associated with a greater odds of anti-trans mistreatment by police (p =.026, OR = 5.091). Denial of gender-appropriate facilities in school was also associated with anti-trans mistreatment by police (p =.034, OR = 3.873). Among the youth subsample, anti-trans victimization in school was associated with a greater odds of incarceration (p =.021, OR = 3.717). Anti-trans school expulsion/denial of enrollment was also associated with a greater odds of incarceration (p =.046, OR = 9.460). Conclusions: These associations suggest that anti-trans school experiences warrant consideration as factors in the school-to-prison pipeline. Future research that traces the pathways between anti-trans school environments and outcomes in the criminal-legal system would be valuable. Policy Implications: Policy interventions that combat anti-trans school victimization and institutional discrimination may be critical to disrupting the STPP for Black/African American transgender women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-494
Number of pages14
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Criminal justice
  • Incarceration
  • LGBTQ
  • School discipline
  • School-to-prison pipeline
  • Transgender
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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