249980 Effect of discrimination and stigma on health care access: Qualitative research with transgender tennesseans

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:30 PM

Katherine Buchman, MPH , Center for Research on Health and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
This qualitative study explored the impacts of discrimination and stigma on health care access for rural and urban transgender individuals. Two focus group discussions were conducted with self-identified transgender individuals in the Nashville and Knoxville regions of Tennessee March of 2010. Four major themes emerged from these discussions: (1) transgender individuals believe that their health care providers' attitudes and behavior toward them belie a lack of respect and that their health care is compromised as a result; (2) transition health care is frequently impeded by physicians and health insurance companies who do not recognize gender transition as a medical necessity; (3) anti-transgender discrimination in rural and urban communities in Tennessee has led transgender individuals to expect similar treatment from their health care providers as well; (4) participants prioritized the need for more health care providers who are knowledgeable about transgender health, and emphasized the importance of advocacy and social support in facilitating health care access. Participants who had previously received health care outside of Tennessee also made comparisons between Tennessee and other cities or states where they had better access to transgender health care. This study concluded that medical education and other professional health care training must be improved to address the health care needs of transgender individuals, particularly those who live in Tennessee and comparable regions in the U.S. Also, research is lacking in key areas of transgender health, including the implementation of a medical curriculum that successfully incorporates transgender health care, and inadequate funding opportunities exist for such research. Finally, the anti-transgender attitudes of health care providers should be addressed from within the health care profession, and through education, community advocacy for transgender rights, and the passage of anti-discrimination laws which are transgender-inclusive, specifically the Employment Non-Discrimination Act currently sidelined in the U.S. Senate.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
The audience will be able to describe the major barriers to health care for transgender individuals, particularly in Tennessee. The audience will be able to describe the major facilitators to health care access that are used by transgender Tennesseans. Health care providers will be able to list important changes to their practices that can be made to create a welcoming and knowledgeable environment for transgender patients. Advocates will be able to discuss the legal barriers to transgender health care as they are perceived by transgender Tennesseans.

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Marginalization

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: the research I am presenting is entirely my own, conducted through the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, in fulfillment of the requirements of the Master's in Public Health degree, as well as in order to fulfill the requirements of the LGBT Health and Wellness certificate, which was awarded by the Center for Research on Health and Sexual Orientation, at the same institution. Currently I work at Persad Center, as the Street Outreach Team Leader for a program targeting LGBT homeless youth in Pittsburgh, PA.
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.