Newsflash: Transgender Discrimination Rampant in Health Care

According to a new report released by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, transgender and  gender non-comforming people face severe discrimination when they try to access health care. The study is the largest study of transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the U.S. to date, surveying more than 6,450 people.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

— About 1 out of 5 survey respondents reported that they had been denied care because they were transgender or gender nonconforming.

— Half reported that they had to teach their health-care provider about transgender care.

— 41 percent of respondents reported having attempted suicide, contrasting with 1.6 percent in the general population.

— 28 percent reported postponing care for fear of discrimination.

— Nearly half were unable to afford health care.

— 28 percent reported harassment in medical settings.

— 2 percent reported being attacked violently in a doctor’s office.

— 2.64 percent reported having HIV–4 times the national average of .6 percent. The rates were even higher for transgender women (3.76 percent), unemployed transgendered people (4.67 percent) and sex workers (15.32 percent).

The study also found that being a person of color compounded the difficulties of accessing health care for transgender and gender-noncomforming people.

November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance. There will be events all over the world to commemorate transgender victims of violence. Some of whom may have experienced violence in an unexpected place, such as a doctor’s office.

Photo from user Sam T through Creative Commons License 2.0


  1. I work in a hospital in Toronto, Canada. One of the things I had noticed as a mental health clinician of the perinatal mental health program was that our intake survey had a question that asked whether the respondent was male or female. I suggested that the survey include "transgendered" and "transsexual" and all psychiatrists in the room agreed to update our survey to fit the need. There was mild hesitation, and the suggestion that we just put "other" was introduced, but we eventually agreed to ask what needed to be asked. Transgendered and transsexual individuals can easily be pregnant themselves, or the partners of pregnant women. Same sex or opposite / all need to be represented, and it is our job to make all feel welcome as responsible and inclusive minded, anti-oppresive professionals. Cheers. Love from Toronto Canada.

    • That is awesome. Change needs to come from those with power to implement it. There is only so much that can happen from my side(i am ftm transgendered) I make effort to ask for what I need but it really helps to be seen and heard with out having to ask especially when I am feeling a bit vulnerable.

  2. Actually, I believe expecting trans people to check off "transgender" or "transsexual" is rather awful. It's third gendering people who may not feel third gender in the least. The vast majority of trans people either identify as male or female (corresponding with their gender identity) just like everyone else. There are people under the trans umbrella who ID as androgynous, two spirit or gender queer, and they should have a option to properly ID in their medical intake with "other" and a space to explain if necessary. Believe it or not, if you ID as trans but go to a medical facility because you've thrown your back out, you'll spend the entire time answering questions about your gender instead of dealing with your back. It basically becomes an excuse to marginalize you instead a way of making for more effective intake.

  3. sadly this is not a "newsflash." We've been dealing with this for a long time.

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