Fast New Facts about Transgender People and Health Care

Last week the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) issued a long-awaited and groundbreaking study — the largest ever — of transgender and gender non-conforming people and their experiences of discrimination, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (available at http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_full.pdf).  The study is truly fascinating, providing “proof” of things many of us knew, but also providing a heretofore invisible mapping of the transgender community’s tremendous diversity.   Over the next few days and weeks, GrayPrideParade and its parent organization, FORGE, will write and post here a series of articles on this 200-page report, highlighting specific topics.  Today, it’s “fast facts” about transgender and gender non-conforming people’s experiences with health care, including some facts health care practitioners ought to know about who is walking through their doors.

“I was forced to have a pelvic exam by a doctor when I went in for a sore throat.  The doctor invited others to look at me while he examined me and talked to them about my genitals.” 

Experiences of abuse and discrimination

  • 28% had been subjected to harassment in a medical setting
  • 26% had been physically assaulted in at least one health care setting
  • 24% had been denied equal treatment at a doctor’s office or hospital
  • 19% had been refused medical care due to being transgender or gender non-conforming (the rate was higher for transgender people of color)
  • 13% had been denied equal treatment at an emergency room
  • 10% had been sexually assaulted in at least one health care setting

 

Postponement of care

  • 48% had postponed medical care because of inability to afford it
  • 28% had postponed medical care because of fear of discrimination in health care setting

 

“Outness”

  • 21% are out to no medical provider
  • 28% are out to all medical providers
  • 18% are out to most medical providers
  • 33% are out to some or a few medical providers 

 

Hormones and surgery

  • 62% have had hormone therapy; 23% hope to have hormones in the future   
  • 15% don’t intend to use hormones
  • 43% of FTMs have had chest surgery; 50% want it someday
  • 1-3% of FTMs have had genital surgery; 27-53% want it someday
  • 23% of MTFs have had vaginoplasty; 64% want it someday

 

Identification

  • Only 21% have been able to update all of their identification with their new gender
  • One-third (33%) had updated none of their IDs/records

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