As a transgender, it may be extremely difficult to find proper medical care. This is the conclusion of a study published in a medical journal earlier this week, which investigates the healthcare options of the transgender community.
The US transgender community has more than 25 million people.
The medical researchers noted there are substantial social and legal inequities interfering with the health care received by a transgender person. There are also no clinics dedicated to transgender care. A person would need to travel 40 miles to see a doctor that had a transgender specialization.
One of the study’s authors said that the health issues that the community has to face are amplified by laws and politicians that refuse to recognize their gender. An example would be the 17 European countries that force the persons who want gender recognition to undergo sterilization. Even in America, the community is forbidden from using public restrooms.
The countries that have the most progressive laws are Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Malta, and Argentina.
Transgender people also have to deal with discrimination, abuse, and stigma. They are excluded by their families, by their work colleagues, by society, and by the health system. Another issue that adds up to discrimination is the fact that gender in-congruence is currently classified as a mental health disorder.
The community’s members are also frequent victims of violence. The Lancet researchers found proofs of 2,115 homicides that happened in the transgender community in the last eight years.
Coming as a consequence of discrimination, the rate of depression is as high as 60%. The risk for drug consumption is also high, and the HIV risk is 50% greater than in the general population.
Even though there are specific clinical services that can only be delivered by specialists, most healthcare services can be offered by a primary care physician. Such a doctor is hard to find, as many persons avoid providing services to transgender persons because of not enough knowledge or fears of complications.
Education is considered to be one of the most powerful enforcers of public opinion. Some medical schools, such as Georgetown University, have already introduced courses on transgender healthcare.
Although the visibility of the community had increased in the last decade, a medical expert observes that the change did not include social equality.
The article series published by the Lancet Journal comprises studies made by scientists from the John Hopkins University, the University of Sheffield in the UK, and the Curtin University of Australia. Further reports were made under the United Nations Development Program.
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