Transgender Patient Perceptions of Stigma in Health Care Contexts

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Abstract

Objectives:

Transgender individuals, or those who cross or transcend sex categories, commonly experience stigma and discrimination. Anecdotal evidence indicates that this transphobia manifests in health care settings, but few studies address the forms of mistreatment experienced in this context. This study was designed to explore transgender patients’ experiences with health care. This brief report focuses on their negative experiences.

Methods:

A total of 152 transgender adults were recruited to complete an online questionnaire about their health care. Participants were asked if and how they had been mistreated, and responses were analyzed by qualitative content analysis.

Results:

Participants’ descriptions of mistreatment coalesced around 6 themes: gender insensitivity, displays of discomfort, denied services, substandard care, verbal abuse, and forced care.

Conclusions:

These findings provide insight into transgender patients’ perceptions of and sensitivity to mistreatment in health care contexts. This information might be used to increase providers’ cultural competency and inform their interactions with transgender patients.

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