Online Program

Immigrant trans Latinas in New York City—resiliencies, vulnerabilities, and health disparities

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Sel J. Hwahng, PhD, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia University/Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, NY
Bennett Allen, B.A., Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research, New York, NY
Catherine Zadoretzky, M.A., Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, NY
Hannah Barber, B.A., School of Medicine, SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, NY
Courtney McKnight, DrPH, The Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Don C. Des Jarlais, PhD, The Baron Edmond de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Introduction: Research suggests that the largest racial/ethnic group of trans women (male-to-female transgender people) in New York City is Latinas. HIV seroprevalence among trans Latinas have been found to be as high as 49% in New York City, and trans Latinas are at high risk for HIV infection in other parts of the U.S. as well as internationally. Despite their being at unusually high risk for HIV, very little is known about the social determinants of health among trans Latinas.

Methods: These data comes from a mixed-methods study that examined low-income trans/gender-variant people of color who attended transgender support groups at harm reduction programs in New York City. The study was conducted from 2011-12, with a total N=34, in which N=21 were Latina-identified. The qualitative portion was derived from six focus group interviews that were audio-taped and transcribed. The quantitative portion was derived from a survey that was administered at the focus groups.

Results and Discussion: The majority of trans Latinas were immigrants, many from Mexico, and the majority of these immigrants were undocumented. Immigrant trans Latinas had stronger bonds of social support with one another compared to more assimilated trans Latinas. This support was often in the form of “thick trust” (bonding/sharing) as well as “thin trust” (information dissemination). Immigrant trans Latinas also experienced familial rejection/social ostracization, economic exclusion, legal/deportation issues, health care exclusion, as well as high risk for victimization. High mental stress, substance use, and HIV infection were prevalent among the immigrant trans Latinas in this study.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the social support and resiliency factors among immigrant trans Latinas in NYC. Describe the various types of vulnerability factors that immigrant trans Latinas in NYC experienced. Assess how the combination of resiliency and vulnerability factors contributes towards the social determinants of specific health outcomes for immigrant trans Latinas in NYC.

Keyword(s): Immigrants, Hispanic

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have eight years experience working with and I have been involved in four major studies that include Latina transwomen, including studies funded by the NIH, SAMHSA, and the New York State AIDS Institute, and have published 15 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on Latina transwomen in relation to high HIV risk, mental health, and substance use. I serve on the National Advisory Board at the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health at the UCSF.
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.