Health and safety are issues for trans youth: University of B.C. survey

Almost half of young adult transgender people said they did not seek health care when they needed it

A new study says safety, exposure to violence and discrimination are major issues for transgender youth in Canada.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia analyzed data from 923 youths and adults aged 14 to 25 who responded to a countrywide survey conducted in 2013 and 2014.

Two-thirds of the youth reported discrimination because of their gender identity, about half said they were discriminated against because of their physical appearance, and another 70 per cent reported sexual harassment.

The report says nearly two-thirds of respondents reported self-harm in the past year, while a similar percentage reported serious thoughts of suicide.

It says close to half of young adult transgender people, aged 19 to 25, did not seek health care when they needed it as many reported having had an uncomfortable and frustrating encounter with a doctor.

The study found that 34 per cent of youths aged 14 to 18 did not seek professional care for physical problems while 47 per cent of those aged 19 to 25 had passed on mental health care, physical health care or regular checkups.

The study’s analysis shows people whose transgender identity was known by their doctor had better general health than those whose physician was unaware, or those who weren’t sure if their doctor knew.

It says youth who reported their doctors knew they were transgender also had better overall mental health than those whose doctors did not have that information.

The study was published last week in the international journal Family Practice.

One of its authors said the results show the need for a more supportive approach in health care for transgender youth.

“Trans youth have higher risk for negative health outcomes due to stigma and discrimination, so knowing that they don’t access health care even when they need to is concerning,” said Elizabeth Saewyc, a nursing professor who leads the Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre at the University of B.C.

“The responsibility lies with us — with health professionals, health educators, and policymakers — to improve our competency in transgender health and ensure our trans patients can have confidence in the health care they receive,” she said in a statement.

The study says the Canadian Medical Association passed resolutions in 2014 and 2015 in support of transgender patients including integrating sex and gender diversity education into medical school curricula and programs, along with the development of clinical tools to help physicians and medical students better understand LGBT health needs.

“Canadian medical schools provide a median of four hours in pre-clinical education and zero hours of clinical education on the entirety of LGBT topics,” the report says. “It is therefore not surprising that many clinicians may be unskilled, unknowledgeable or uncomfortable providing health care for transgender youth.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Reporter takes to the skies: Qualicum Beach flight school now up and running

PQB News staffer Cloe Logan tries flying with instructor Mike Andrews

Parksville council members share views on affordable housing

Divergent opinions on responsibility, priorities

Massive early-morning blaze destroys unoccupied Nanoose Bay home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire

Captain Dziadyk to end season with Oceanside Generals on high note

Qualicum Beach player is longest-serving player in team history

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Most Read