Washington, D.C. — Nearly half of transgender individuals—and 68 percent of transgender people of color—report experiencing mistreatment at the hands of a health care provider, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress’ LGBTQ Research and Communications Project. Drawing from original analysis of CAP’s own nationally representative survey of LGBTQI+-identifying adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System; and the TransPop study, the authors present new data on the health status and barriers to care for the 1.4 million transgender-identifying adults living in the United States today. Given the current slate of discriminatory state-level bills that seek to strip transgender people of their rights and access to health care, addressing these disparities with robust, proactive measures would have lifesaving results.
Some of the report’s key findings include:
- 2 in 3 transgender individuals have experienced some form of discrimination in the year prior to CAP’s survey, including 65 percent of transgender people of color.
- 28 percent of transgender individuals, including 22 percent of transgender people of color, report postponing or not receiving necessary medical care for fear of discrimination in the year prior to CAP’s survey.
- Compared with 36 percent of cisgender heterosexual respondents, 48 percent of transgender respondents reported having been beaten, physically attacked, or sexually assaulted at least once since the age of 18.
- 46 percent of transgender individuals have had a health insurer deny them gender-affirming care in the year prior to CAP’s survey.
The report also outlines policy solutions and enforcement mechanisms, including:
- Engaging in rule-making to strengthen nondiscrimination protections in Section 1557 and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulations
- Clarifying that transgender-specific exclusions do not comply with federal law
- Enhancing data collection to fully understand transgender people’s experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
- Developing and improving nondiscrimination enforcement and accountability measures with technical assistance and oversight
- Going beyond nondiscrimination protections to ensure and promote affirming, inclusive, and culturally competent medical care
“Discrimination, stigma, poverty, and violence pose significant harms to the physical, mental, and behavioral health of transgender adults,” said Sharita Gruberg, vice president of CAP’s LGBTQ Research and Communications Project and co-author of the report. “By enacting robust, affirming, and inclusive policies that address these disparate outcomes, policymakers and health care providers can begin to address the long-standing needs of this underserved community.”
Read the report: “Protecting and Advancing Health Care for Transgender Adult Communities” by Caroline Medina, Thee Santos, Lindsay Mahowald, and Sharita Gruberg
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