Transgender People and Health Care: How Research from Public Health, Gender and Sexuality, and Political Science Can Help the Problem

by emilycao on April 7, 2014 - 11:55pm

In my recent articles, I’ve touched upon the issue of transgender rights, and more specifically on problems encountered when accessing health services. When writing the post “Transgender People’s Problem with Doctors”, I was surprised to see that transgender people had to face discrimination even from doctors. To feel more comfortable with themselves, it is important to support transgender people and inform them of options they have concerning surgeries or hormone treatments. In fact, the author of the article “The State of Transgender Health Care: Policy, Law, and Medical Frameworks” from the American Journal of Public Health mentions that gender transition requires for transgender people to be dependent on the medical system for basic identity expression. In my latest post, I discuss about clinics in Canada offering support for transgender youth. From these articles, I’ve been dragged to search more about problems with the health system for transgender people and ways to improve their access to health care.

For my research paper, I will consider journal articles from the disciplines of public health, gender and sexuality, and political science. Public health studies focus on the community’s health through education, research, promotion of healthy lifestyles and prevention of disease and injury. It touches upon health services and health systems research. This can be useful to learn about the health system and what can be improved for a better care of transgender people. The gender and sexuality discipline studies gender identity, the meanings of “male” and “female”, and sexual norms. Since it also discusses how society’s perception of gender and sexuality is influenced by transphobia, among others, it can be useful to understand what prejudices medical professionals can have, preventing transgender people from having adequate health care. Finally, political science is mainly a study of politics. It also looks at public policy issues and examines questions of values. Many topics can relate to this discipline, such as human rights and gender. This discipline is useful for my research as it will provide information on medical policies, helping me have an overall view on how the medical system deals with transgender people and how discrimination of transgender people goes against human rights.


Hello, I look forward to working with you more in regards to this issue. Stay Alert for another post in the next few days!

Hello Again, this is what I found. Hope it helps you! :)

Transgender rights are a very important issue especially within today's society. One nonprofit organization which focuses on this issue is the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). NCTE is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people (isuu). Through their empowerment they educate and influence policymakers and others, as well as "facilitate strong and clear voices for transgender equality in our nation’s capital and around the country" (NCTE). The organization currently includes about eight staff, one intern and is focused on many different issues in the arena of Transgender individuals in regards to discrimination from housing rights, Employment in part with ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), comprehensive Civil Rights protecting individuals rights among other aspects of their lives which may be helpful in regards to your section on medical care as individuals shouldn't be denied health care because of their gender and sexuality or either for that matter.
There are many resources offered through this program and each one is dependent upon what the transgender individual may be looking for. These programs offered are based on race, gender non conformity and even discrimination transgender individuals may face. Support for these individuals is of great importance and Erving Goffman’s Performances theory I believe is of great support for this as an individual’s personal identity often times affect the ways in which they act in particular social situations, perform heir gender and as a result the resources that they are presented with.
NCTE operates as one of the largest national LGBT nonprofit organizations in the country. In fact they are also fairly successful as their quality and quantity of research, policy analysis, and advocacy exceeds that of other organizations. As stated in their website: “Their capacity to lead and win along with their strategic use of resources earned NCTE sixth out of 110 national LGBT equality groups in Guidestar’s 2012 Philanthopedia survey”. Through this program the expected outcomes include: providing congressional programming, establishing a center of expertise on transgender issues of national importance and providing both federal activity and communication of this activity to members around the country.
The NCTE focuses on many different aspects within the Transgender community including hate crimes describes as: “well-documented and unconscionable levels of bias-motivated violence”. Furthermore it is stated that “This is especially true of young, low-income transgender women of color. The stigma associated with being transgender requires transgender people to maintain constant vigilance against sudden brutal violence. For years, transgender people have been murdered on an average of more than one person per month; many more have been assaulted. While a deep societal issue like hate cannot be entirely resolved by the government, there are steps recommended that will result in large strides toward safety.” (NCTE)
A theory of change in this organization can be seen through the way in which the organization goes about providing individuals with the rights given to everyone else they will assimilate and feel more like a part of society. NCTE seeks to address issues which both need to be addressed as while as those in which are of detrimental harm to GLBT individuals. The site states that: “NCTE has identified the issues that must be addressed before transgender people can participate equally in American society. Many of the laws and policies listed in this document are remnants of old stereotypes, such as the inhumane prison healthcare policies, while others, such as the REAL ID Act, seem to hurt transgender people simply as an unintended consequence. Still others, such as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), are intentionally discriminatory. Implementing these recommended changes in laws and policies will dramatically enhance the lives of transgender people and our families.” Throughout this website it is seen that there are many topics separated into different areas which represent government policies that impact transgender individuals (NCTE).

Hope this help!!

Hi, I’m am glad that you were interested in my project and I, too, believe that transgender rights are an important issue. I am happy to hear that organizations such as the NCTE work on this issue in the United States. Your description of the work of the NCTE made me aware of what can be done to help transgender people and improve policies concerning them. I think it is a good idea that the organization separated their programs and the issues they are working on; this allows transgender people to look for help specific to their needs. I was curious about what the NCTE accomplished and came upon this article: The author, who worked at the organization, talks about some achievements of the NCTE since 2003. This shows that it is possible for transgender people to have better policies and laws; the road towards equality is full of hope.

I seem to find this project really interesting. For one thing, I really like on how you will involve the use of public health, gender and sexuality, as well as political science. Why are there so many insults being pointed out to transgender people? Why are they being so disrespected? This is something I want to know out of this project you're working on. I do remember, a long time ago, talking about Caster Semenya who was tested for gender to make sure her victory in the women's 800 meters back in the 2009 World Championships was genuine.

I found the theory of change to be effective, because noting the services that the National Center for Transgender Equality offers, as long as they keep their goal of promoting equality and encompass serious changes to laws that are detrimental to transgender people, this is what transgender want before they can retrieve service or refusing service such as not having to go through gender assignment surgery before changing the gender on their birth certificates. Laws and politics regarding transgender people must be updated, and so it is true that transgender people are more on the urge to earn equality before they can change their gender in their birth certificates. Social integration and representation of transgender people in society and in politics is the most important; as soon as a transgender person joins society, this brings them one step further to promoting their own rights and lessens the effect of discrimination.

The way on how I bought up birth certificates comes from an article: The Canadian Press' "Judge strikes down Alberta law regarding sex switch on birth certificates" by Chris Purdy, published on April 23, 2014. Here, in 2012, Ontario's only human rights tribunal court announced the requirement for gender reassignment surgery, based on the Vital Statistics Act, to be discriminatory for transgender people, particularly for one individual. Judge Brian Burrows says that a new birth certificate must be issued to a 23-year-old transgender woman, in 30 days, by the government, with a change of gender in the certificate. The woman wanted it to do so because she doesn't want to go through surgery, and her original birth certificate makes her feel not as socially integrated as she should be, for having her female identity misrepresented. In response to the complaints of the act, there is no specified date when, but the required surgery will be dropped.

Essentially, this article can be used to express one aspect of the rights of transgender people where the court systems should start to recognize and pass on the problems to the government.

I think it`s important to stick up for to any kind of human rights. I believe that we all need to have the same equal rights regardless of our sexual orientation. I find it very interesting that you looked in to this subject since we hear less about transgender rights in the media today. With all the media attention surrounding the anti-gay rule in Russia this past February, not a lot of people (including myself) were not aware of the fight that transgender people are facing right now. I think it`s ridiculous that transgender people are being decimating against because of their beliefs. I believe that as long as you are not imposing your beliefs on people than you should be left alone to live your life as you see fit. As long as the person is happy why you should you care if they want to change their gender, it’s not hurting you or your way of life at all. I saw a transgender commercial a few days ago that really impacted me and I felt sent a strong message to the community. Maybe you could use it for your research paper:

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