Online Program

Identification of Health Service Needs of Mexican Transgender Asylum Seekers and Recommendations for Public Health Practitioners

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 10:56 a.m. - 11:09 a.m.

Mary Gowin, MPH, Health and Exercise Science Department, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
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
Maria Camero, MS, Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Ghadah Alshuwaiyer, PhD, PT, School of Humanities and Sciences, Life Sciences, Stephens College, Columbia, MO
Purpose: Little is known about Mexican transgender asylum seekers’ experiences and the impact those experiences have on their health after reaching the US. Methods: A multidisciplinary team of nine reviewers used a systematic document review process to examine the declarations and psychological evaluations (n=45) from an organization assisting Mexican male to female transgender individuals seeking asylum during 2011-2012. Documents were coded, and reviewed by the team. Themes were then identified and recommendations formulated for public health practitioners. Results: Prior to immigration to the US asylum seekers reported verbal/emotional, physical, and sexual abuse by peers, family members, and authority figures. Many asylum seekers reported dropping out school to support themselves financially or to escape abuse. Once in the US, many asylum seekers reported continued harassment, discrimination, and abuse although to a lesser degree. Asylum seekers reported developing negative coping skills as a result of the harassment and abuse. Several reported self-imposed seclusion, while others reported abusing drugs and alcohol. Other issues reported were: chronic conditions which were often untreated due to financial issues and fear of seeking services; limited employment or educational opportunities; and little social support. Conclusions: These themes highlight the need for multiple social and health services for this particularly vulnerable population. Specifically, social, mental health, and physical health services to assist with the structural violence and trauma they have experienced as a result of their transgender status is needed upon arrival in the US. Furthermore services related to education and employment are also relevant to this population.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe experiences of Mexican transgender asylum seekers. Identify health services needed by Mexican transgender asylum seekers.

Keyword(s): Underserved Populations, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience working with LGBT populations in health promotion practice. In addition my mentor has extensive experience working with LGBT populations in health promotion and research and has provided me with a great deal of educational opportunities to work with LGBT populations. Furthermore, this paper is part of a larger study that our multidisciplinary team has been working on for over a year; therefore we all have extensively studied these documents.
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.