209102 Racial/ethnic differences in psychosocial factors and violence against high risk transgender women

Monday, November 9, 2009: 4:30 PM

Tooru Nemoto, PhD , Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
Mariko Iwamoto, MA , Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA
Birte Boedeker, MSc , Public Health Institute, Oakland, CA

Transgender people are highly vulnerable toward violence, depression, and other forms of discrimination due to transphobia and stigma. The study aims to describe racial/ethnic differences in depression and exposure to violence and transphobia.


Through community outreach, high risk transgender women were recruited during two time periods: 332 participants in San Francisco between 2000 and 2001 (112 African Americans, 110 Asian and Pacific Islanders, and 110 Latinas) and 241 participants between 2004 and 2006 (123 African Americans in Oakland and 118 Caucasian in San Francisco). A total of 573 transgender women completed a structured individual survey interview.


Half of the participants were depressed (CESD) and 56% had suicidal thoughts, among them, 61% attempted suicide (64% of Latina were depressed; 74% of Caucasian had suicidal thoughts). Participants reported being a victim of physical assault (50%) and rape or sexual assault (38% in adolescent and 30% adulthood). Exposure to transphobia was reported more among whites, Latinas, and African

Americans than APIs. Participants received social support from transgender or other friends and less from family, though whites and Latinas expressed higher needs for social support.


The prevalence of depression, suicidal ideation, and attempt was very high among transgender women. Racial/ethnic differences in psychological vulnerability must be addressed in relation to their needs and specific sources of social support.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the prevalence of depression and violence among transgender women in relation to transphobia and social support. Describe racial and ethnic differences in psychological vulnerability and health risk. Identify implications for developing future programs targeting transgender women in order to promote their health and well-being.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Nemoto has over 25 years of experience in conducting community-based intervention studies/projects particularly in substance abuse and HIV/AIDS treatment/prevention targeting ethnic and gender minorities. He also published over 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals, conducted more than 80 presentations and invited lectures.
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.