201614 Health of Asian American gender-variant and transgender people

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:30 PM

Sel J. Hwahng, PhD , Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University, New York, NY
Alison J. Lin, MPH , Adolescent Initiative, Children's Hospital of Philadephia, Philadelphia, PA

Most Asian Americans occupy the middle stratum within a tri-racial stratification system in U.S. mainstream society. Many male-born gender-variant and transgender people, however, may actually occupy the lowest stratum within this racial stratification system because of several factors such as transphobia, poverty, and immigration. Many Asian American male-born gender-variant and transgender people thus experience the “multiple jeopardy” of racism, transphobia, poverty, and immigration. Stressors arising from this multiple jeopardy may result in negative health outcomes, possibly creating health disparities that extend beyond individual behaviors.


To review the most current literature on the health of Asian American gender-variant and transgender people.


Utilizing available literature and reports on Asian American gender-variant and transgender health in combination with theories relating to gender, sexuality, and race, trends in the literature relating to HIV and STIs, sexual behavior, mental health, and substance use will be discussed.


Studies conducted in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and other locales indicate varying results for sexual behavior, HIV seroprevalence, mental health, and substance use.


It is crucial to examine the social and cultural factors that interact with health behaviors, such as the persistent stressors of racism, transphobia, poverty, immigration, and multiple jeopardy. Implications for improving policy, programs, and research to address the needs of Asian American gender-variant and transgender people are explicated.

Learning Objectives:
Describe gender variance and transgenderism among the Asian American population. Identify 3 unique health stressors for Asian American gender-variant and transgender people. Discuss how programs, policies, or clinical health services could be tailored for Asian American gender-variant and transgender people.

Keywords: Asian Americans, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am first-author on a book chapter about Asian American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health. I have also conducted NIH-funded research on Asian American transgender and gender-variant populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.