Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Report Finds Rampant Health Care Discrimination Against Transgender Individuals

Talk about the need for cultural competency, a new study out today finds that transgender and gender non-conforming people face rampant discrimination in health care settings, are regularly denied needed care, and experience a range of health risks because they are transgender or gender non-conforming, according to a report of over 6,450 transgender and gender non-conforming people. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey: Report on Health and Health Care was released nationally today by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Key findings include:

* Nearly 1 in 5, 19%, reported being refused care outright, because they were transgender or gender non-conforming;

* Survey participants reported very high levels of postponing medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination and disrespect (28%);

* Harassment: 28% of respondents were subjected to harassment in medical settings;

* Significant lack of provider knowledge: 50% of the sample reported having to teach their medical providers about transgender care;

* Despite barriers, the majority have accessed some form of transition-related medical care; but only a minority has had any surgery, despite the fact that a strong majority stated wanting to have it someday;
* Respondents reported over four times the national average of HIV infection, 2.64% in our sample compared to 0.6% in the general population, with rates for transgender women at 3.76%, and with those who are unemployed (4.67%) or who have engaged in sex work (15.32%) even higher;

* Over a quarter of the respondents misused drugs or alcohol specifically to cope with the discrimination they faced due to their gender identity or expression;

* A staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population.

Read the entire report here.

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