Transgender people face can face an exceptional degree of anxiety and bias in healthcare. A large survey by Lambda Legal revealed that 70 percent of transgender respondents had experienced serious discrimination in healthcare. In a 2011 survey of over 6,000 transgender Americans, 19 percent of the respondents reported being refused healthcare due to their transgender or gender-nonconforming status, with an additional 28 percent having postponed necessary healthcare when sick or injured, and 33 percent having delayed or not sought preventative care because of experiences of healthcare discrimination based on their transgender status. As a report on transgender-affirming hospital policies by HRC and Lambda Legal notes: “From instances of humiliation and degradation to outright refusals to provide care, many institutions – consciously or not – have made it very difficult for transgender people to receive respectful, knowledgeable treatment. The end result often has been disengagement from the health care system that results in poor health outcomes for transgender people: rather than enduring abuse and poor treatment, transgender people often simply do without health care.”
Fortunately, culturally competent healthcare providers and administrators can help end the health disparities faced by transgender people through providing welcoming, knowledgeable and equitable care to the transgender community. Below, we have provided resources for healthcare providers and administrators to help provide patient-centered care to the transgender community.
- Read Injustice at Every Turn: a Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a report by the National Center for Transgender Equality to learn about the injustices transgender and gender non-conforming people face not only in healthcare, but in employment, schools, the workplace, and by other service providers.
- Visit the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health to view a wealth of resources, including primary and clinical care guidelines and best practices, cultural competency trainings, policy recommendations, and more.
Best Practices and Cultural Competency
- Read Creating Equal Access to Quality Health Care for Transgender Patients: Transgender-Affirming Hospital Policies to learn about best practices in hospital policies to reduce health disparities for transgender patients at your facility.
- Read the Transgender Law Center’s brochure 10 Tips for Working with Transgender Patients to learn more about how to best improve quality of care and provider-patient outcomes for transgender patients.
- Read Affirmative Care for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People: Best Practices for Front-line Health Care Staff from the National LGBT Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute as both background information on transgender people and their health needs, along with best practices for improving communication and creating a more affirming environment for transgender patients.
- View a sample Factsheet for Transgender Patients from the Fenway institute for important FAQs to make available for transgender patients at your facility.
- Visit Gender Spectrum for resources about working with gender-expansive children and their families, along with gender inclusive best practices for physical exams and other resources
- Read our report Supporting and Caring for our Gender-Expansive Youth for information and suggestions for those seeking to increase their comfort and competency with the evolving landscape of gender identity and expression.
- Visit the World Professional Association for Transgender Health for resources promoting evidence based care, education, research, advocacy, public policy and respect in transgender health, along with Standards of Care and Ethical Guidelines for transgender health.
- See the Endocrine Society’s Clinical Guidelines for care of transgender patients, including diagnostic procedures, treatment of adolescents, hormone therapy, and more.
- Watch the on-demand transgender health webinars available from the National LGBT Health Education Center at The Fenway Institute. CME/CMU credits are offered for all webinars.
Transgender Health-Related Videos
- View our four-part video series “Debunking the Myths: Transgender Health and Well Being” where transgender people, medical professionals and other experts team up to dispel some common and harmful misconceptions surrounding the lived experiences of transgender and gender nonconforming people.
- Transgender Tuesdays: A Clinic in the Tenderloin is a film about the first clinic in the country focused on transgender care, focusing on the lives of twelve of the patients who came to the clinic starting in 1993.
- Southern Comfort is a documentary about the last year in the life of a transgender man with ovarian cancer, who is turned away from care by over two dozen physicians in the south, who fear that taking on a transgender patient might harm their practice.