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

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old Langley man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

New art exhibit: Fraser River as seen by the salmon

In Fort Langley gallery show, UBC prof uses photos to offer unique insight into life of sockeye

Tenor from Langley-based Trinity Western University joins Vancouver Chamber Choir

Rob Workman feels ‘blessed by these opportunities’

ELECTION: Ryan Warawa to run for BC Conservative Party in Langley East

Son of late MP Mark Warawa is former president of provincial party

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read