Transgender people are considered to be among vulnerable populations due to their increased need for high-quality healthcare. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, transgender patients are at a higher risk of health issues associated with abuse, violence, and substance misuse than the general population. This population has a greater incidence of mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and suicide than cisgender persons. Sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and viral hepatitis are also among the key health risks for transgender people.
In order to address these health risks, it is essential for transgender persons to have access to high-quality medical care, which is not always possible due to certain barriers. Despite the efforts to reduce the stigmatization and discrimination of transgender individuals, these problems are still evident in the healthcare sector. A study by Safer et al. showed that some care providers refuse to provide high-quality, timely treatment to transgender patients due to inherent biases.
Denial of care can have a powerful influence on a person’s wellbeing since they might decide to avoid seeking help in the future. Seelman, Colón-Diaz, LeCroix, Xavier-Brier, and Kattari note that transgender persons who delay seeking medical care because of discrimination had worse general health outcomes than those who did not. Discrimination can also impact specific mental health outcomes, increasing the risk of depression, suicide attempts, and thoughts about suicide.
Therefore, discrimination and stigmatization by care providers are among the most critical issues faced by transgender persons within healthcare. However, discrimination is not the only challenge that transgender persons experience while seeking or receiving medical care. There is a variety of reports stating that medical professionals often lack knowledge or training in transgender health, which impairs the quality of service they provide.
Limited cultural competency is also an issue since it affects the relationship between transgender patients and care providers, leading to poor health outcomes and inadequate care-seeking behaviors. Lastly, since transgender persons also face discrimination in education and employment, they may have no access to high-quality care due to being uninsured and having a low income. Addressing these problems on a national scale would help to enhance health outcomes among transgender patients, thus advancing population health in the United States.