Mental Health of Transgender Veterans in US States With and Without Discrimination and Hate Crime Legal Protection

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Abstract

Objectives

To examine whether indicators of community- and state-level lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality are associated with transgender veterans’ mental health.

Methods

We extracted Veterans Administration data for patients who were diagnosed with gender identity disorder, had at least 1 visit in 2013, and lived in a zip code with a Municipality Equality Index score (n = 1640). We examined the associations of whether a state included transgender status in employment nondiscrimination laws and in hate crimes laws with mood disorders; alcohol, illicit drug, and tobacco use disorders; posttraumatic stress disorder; and suicidal ideation or attempt.

Results

Nearly half (47.3%) of the sample lived in states with employment discrimination protection, and 44.8% lived in states with hate crimes protection. Employment nondiscrimination protection was associated with 26% decreased odds of mood disorders (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.59, 0.93) and 43% decreased odds of self-directed violence (AOR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.34, 0.95).

Conclusions

Understanding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender social stressors can inform treatment and care coordination for transgender populations.

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