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

Police watchdog investigating after Abbotsford man seriously injured during arrest

Abbotsford police used ‘less lethal firearm’ and dog in arrest of man believed to have gun

NDP wants Chilliwack-Kent MLA removed from BC Liberal caucus for alleged homophobia

BC Liberal leader, some MLAs apologize for Christian magazine ads but Laurie Throness doubles down

New youth housing in Chilliwack comes with wrap-around supports

The 16-unit building on Mellard Avenue will be for youth experiencing homelessness or at risk of it

PHOTO: Chilliwack photographer captures incredible image of Comet Neowise

Comet that’s visible to the naked eye will be easiest to see on July 23

Upper Fraser Valley RCMP re-open community policing offices

CPOs have been closed for weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but re-opened Tuesday

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. health officials pleased with likely extension of Canada-U.S. border closure

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the situation is ‘very serious in the United States’

‘Perfect storm’ led to bad year for mosquitos near Fraser River

High river levels and lots of rain meant many eggs hatched this year

South Surrey mom frustrated by city’s response after son, 10, has severe reaction to park grass 

City of Surrey parks manager says ‘potential steps’ to address concern under review

Thousands of dollars of stolen rice traced to Langley warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

Children suffer swollen eyes, burns while playing at Lower Mainland spray park

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Most Read