Online Program

Latino transgender asylum seekers in the US: Documenting a history of social exclusion, sexual violence, and resulting post-traumatic stress disorder

Monday, November 4, 2013

Marshall Cheney, PhD, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Jamie Dunnington, MPH, Department of Health & Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Mary Gowin, MPH, Health and Exercise Science Department, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Maria Camero, MS, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
E. Laurette Taylor, PhD, Dept. of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Background: Violence against transgender individuals has been documented in the United States, but there is no published research documenting the common experiences of sexual violence and resulting mental health issues among Latino transgender immigrants. Methods: This mixed method retrospective document review examined the evidence filed in support of US asylum by Latino transgender asylum seekers to identify life events associated with transgender identity and resulting psychological trauma. The authors reviewed the asylum declarations and the psychological evaluations of Latino transgender asylum applicants between 2007 and 2012 who sought assistance at a west coast social service agency (specific country of origin was not reported to protect identity). Data analyses procedures included a thematic analysis, a statistical analysis, and an integration of qualitative and qualitative findings. Results: Analyses resulted in the identification of multiple types of physical and sexual violence, including intrapersonal, self-directed and collective forms of violence in response to transgender identity and behaviors in the Latino transgender asylum applicants. The study further reports the association of exclusion and violence experienced by the Latino transgender asylum seekers to performance on standardized mental health assessments measuring depression and PTSD, suicidal and homicidal ideation and other mental health issues. Conclusions: Latino transgender asylum seekers experience a lifetime of sexual violence and social discrimination that can impact them long after immigration to the US. Public health practitioners should target mental health services to this population.

Word Count: 231 words

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify types of physical and sexual violence experienced by Latino transgender asylum applicants. Describe performance on mental health assessments by transgender asylum seekers based on past experience of physical and sexual violence. Formulate recommendations for public health practitioners in tailoring mental health interventions for this population.

Keyword(s): Sexual Assault, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author because I have conducted and published qualitative research with vulnerable populations. I have been a past and current PI of qualitative research projects focusing with a young adult populations. Among my scientific interests is the exploration of LGBT health issues, particularly in young adults.
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.

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