September 26, 2023

Addressing mistreatment of transgender people in healthcare encounters

Editor's Note

Transgender people are subject to mistreatment in healthcare encounters, including harassment, assault, and denial of care, according to this September 2023 qualitative study published by Annals of Family Medicine. This study comprised 30 transgender adults and found the following experiences among transgender patients:

  • Transgender people often found clinicians’ questions to be voyeuristic, stigmatizing, or self-protective.
  • Patients described being pathologized, denied, given substandard care, or harmed when clinicians learned they are transgender. 
  • Transgender people frequently choose between risking stigma when sharing information or ineffective clinical problem-solving by withholding information about their medical histories.
  • It is difficult to improve the safety of transgender people in modern medical systems.

Based on the findings, the researchers recommend asking only clinically relevant, patient-centered questions; explaining the clinical relevance of questions; and ensuring that documents, discourse, and policies “disentangle gender and biologic factors.”


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