Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Health & Wellness

Half of trans youth avoid disclosing gender identity to a health care provider

The most common reasons cited for withholding gender identity were feeling uncomfortable and not knowing how to bring it up, with only 25% saying they preferred to be the ones to broach the topic.

Photo by Chris Johnson from Unsplash.com

Researchers at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh surveyed patients in a local clinic providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth and found that a surprisingly high number of them intentionally avoided disclosing their gender identity to doctors outside the clinic.

The paper was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“The provider-patient power dynamic is a real one,” said lead author Gina Sequeira, M.D., M.S., adolescent medicine fellow at UPMC Children’s Hospital. “It’s important for us as providers to open the door and ask young people in a respectful and open way if they would like to talk about their identity.”

When providers know that a young patient is transgender, they’re in a better position to ensure access to services, from medical transition to mental health, Sequeira said.

During the summer and fall of 2018, she analyzed survey responses from 153 transgender youth ages 12-26 years old. Two-thirds identified as male, one-fifth as female and another fifth as nonbinary.

While 78% of the participants reported disclosing their gender identity to a health care provider outside the clinic at least once, 47% reported intentionally avoiding disclosure, even in situations where they thought it might be important for their health.

The most common reasons cited for withholding gender identity were feeling uncomfortable and not knowing how to bring it up, with only 25% saying they preferred to be the ones to broach the topic.

Instead, participants suggested multiple ways clinics can create spaces to help young patients feel more comfortable disclosing their gender identities, including transgender-friendly materials in the waiting room, forms that include a checkbox for gender identity and educating staff about using a patient’s preferred name and pronouns.

It’s important to note that the gender clinic where participants were recruited requires parent or guardian consent for treatment of minors — a group that makes up half of the total study sample — meaning these youth are “out” at home and often have at least one supportive caregiver in their lives.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Given that sampling bias, Sequeira was surprised to see so many participants avoiding disclosure.

“I suspect if we looked in a non-clinical sample, that number would be much higher,” Sequeira said. “Our patients have already overcome many barriers.”

Sequeira is expanding the study to sample a larger, more general population of transgender youth through social media.

Additional authors on the study include Kristin Ray, M.D., M.S., of Pitt; Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D., of Pitt and UPMC Children’s Hospital; and Robert Coulter, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Like Us On Facebook

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Health & Wellness

Transgender adults were found to have double the prevalence of cirrhosis compared to cisgender adults (people whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at...

Travel

In Japan, a high court ruled that a transgender woman should be able to change the sex assigned to them at birth in their...

#KaraniwangLGBT

Meet #transgender woman Mia, 21, who started "lightly" doing #sexwork when she was 17, with a handful of clients. She really considered the #sexindustry...

Health & Wellness

Nearly all (94.3%) indicated they desired GAMC before age 18. And over half (55.7%) of the respondents reported being out about their gender identity...

Advertisement