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

Cycling advocates call for more pedestrian space, temporary bike lanes during pandemic

An increase in foot traffic means transportation needs to be prioritized, advocates say

Volunteers collect and deliver pet food across Greater Victoria during COVID-19 pandemic

Richard Hawkes has ‘food coming out of his ears’ and would love to help those in need

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

‘We’re running out of options’: Victoria looks to other municipalities to help shelter homeless

Victoria Curling Club, Crystal Pool ruled out as options for the 250 people remaining outside

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

Couple celebrates 61st anniversary through Vancouver Island seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ entertains home-bound kids in Cowichan Bay

Alora Killam, 16, played the part in musical two years ago

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

Most Read