When a child is born, parents wait to hear if the baby is a boy or a girl. In the world of a Transgender, this is not always the case. A Transgender person will not identify with the sex he or she was assigned at birth. They’ll argue that their assignment does not fit them. In fact, they might say that they are both male and female or they might argue that they’re neither. Transgenders are no strangers to society. Transgenders have been discriminated against for many years. They are individual who are discriminated against just like any other racial and ethnic group. In my essay, I will provide statistics and explain the effects of Transgender. Discrimination, demographics and health status of transgender population and explain why crisis interventions are crucial.
Key Words: discrimination, transgender.
Transgender people are discriminated against almost daily. For example, they are discriminated in the workplace, stores, schools, churches, and many places just to name a few. Many transgenders suffer from depression. The attempted rate of suicide is high for men and women. Almost forty percent of Transgender men and woman have attempted suicide. According to a Psychology Today article, The rate of attempted suicides are nine times higher than cisgender, or those who relate with their birth assignment. An enormous portion of society has been misinformed about the Transgender community. This misinformation has caused society to view the Transgender community as abnormal. Shame is attached to the Transgender community. In addition to shame, some other distinct challenges or obstcles transgender face are poverty, harassment and stigma, anti-transgender violence, little or no legal protection, health care hurdles, lack of documents to prove identity.
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According to an article in Transgender Health (2017), healthcare is an area that has the most barriers. However, few studies have been done to see why transgender peope delay or altogather avoid much needed medical care. In this article a study was admisinstered to address the gaps associated with healthcare needs. The study was administered on 417 transgender adults in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States. Dependent variables evaluated general health and mental health. Independent variables included noninclusive healthcare from primary care providers, delay of urgent medical care because fear of discrimination. The results of the study cited: Transgenders who delayed or avoided going to doctor were in much worse health than those who visited a physician. As a result of delaying care, they had a 3.08 greater odds of becoming depressed or experiences some type of mental crisis. Futhermore, 3.81 had greaater odds in attempting suicide.
The article futher explains several reasons why Transgenders are reluctant to seek adequate healthcare. One very important reason is that the Transgender community feel as though the healthcare sytem is hostile toward their needs. When asked, the patients stated that their experience with doctors was not a pleasant experience. The clinicians or doctors lack of knowledge about Transgender issues were limited. At times, the asked the right questions in an insentitive way. They also felt as though they were descriminated against because of their socioeconomic status. Those without adequate health insurance were treated the worse. A second important barrier or obstacle was the Minority Stree Model. This concept model gives a better understanding for high rates of poor mental helth in a disadvantaged population. It states that minority stress is composed of three constant stressors: homophobia, stigma and discrimination and victimization. These are all unique to the gay and heterosexist. In the model, the most common and identified stressor is once again discrimination. Because of these unique stressors, suicides and attempted sucides, drug use and alcoholism as well as physical health worsens. From this model, one can come to the conclusion that these types of stressors led to mental instability.
Overal this study was a start in the right direction. It suggests that fear of a hostile health care environment is just one hinderance for the Transgender community. Fear of being discriminated against is also a common theme among the Transgender community. Although, this research is a good start, much more research needs to be done in healthcare as far as other contributing factors that keep this discriminated community away from the appropriate healthcare services. Crisis intervention could play a very important part in this process. Social worker and clinicians could assist with this communities’ needs to assure that they are referred to the most appropriate facility. Social workers would be the mouth of the Transgender community. Because Social workers are educated on the sensitive needs of this community because they could get the counseling and other resources need to more adequately assist.
In another article, entitled “Vulnerability and Psychosocial Risk Factors Regarding People Who Identify as Transgender” (2017), the authors agree that the risk factors are tremendous according to them, the factors are similar to the ones listed in the previous article. A range of psychosocial issues include: drugs, violence, discrimination, financial hardships, as well as issues related to appropriate healthcare. Although these are stressors that lead to other mental issues, Transgenders have developed “think skins” as well as coping skills to just survive. This article also speaks of minority stress and how high drug use rates are extremely high. Depression is rapid because Transgender people are twice as likely to be unemployed. The articles states that the depression rate in between 26% and 26%. Each factor is a domino effect. For example, because the unemployment rate is high among Transgenders, they must find other ways to survive. So, they seek out risk taking behaviors that include prostitution. Unprotected sex occurs, STDs and HIV becomes a reality for the Transgender community. Finally, as mentioned in the previous article, healthcare is not on the top of the list. This theme is common, and it is repetitive. After reading this research, it is even more clearer that additional research needs to be done on ways to convince or make the Transgender community more comfortable with counseling, mental health and more importantly the healthcare. Social services component was not discussed in detail in this article. It gave no positive solution this this problem. However, it did suggest that policy makers play an important role in crisis intervention because it is their responsibility to address discrimination, employment, education, social exclusion and health care. Social workers should work with policy makers to address the issues.
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Support for Transgender community do exist depending on the part of the United States one lives in. In rural areas, social support systems are few. Rural areas would benefit from social workers and crisis interventions. However, a placed called The Center is located in New York. It was created to help the lesbian, gays, bisexuals, and Transgender. The center provides programs and services which are centered toward issues such as the those mentioned in this paper. Their mission is basically to empower the LGBQT community and to live healthy and successful lives. Another function is to help the Transgender community set financial goals. They give financial advice and suggestions on the proper way to spend their money. Not only do they serve adults, they assist the youth as well. They help in make all homes safe and promote a healthy environment for the LGBQT youth.
Lastly, and I think more importantly, they have social workers who offer insurance enrollment for all their clients. They can enroll in different sources of health insurance such as Medicaid, Essential Plans, and others. It is a service that they offer to help and ensure that everyone in the LGBQT community has the tools to live happy and healthy lives. Also, they provide resources and referrals. Such as counseling on gender identity, HIV and AIDS and much more. I’m glad that this center has a lot to offer Transgenders from different walks of life. They have experienced so much discrimination. I am happy that I found a website that interacts with their social needs and are a part of their personal lives. It is important that they experience social support also. Research also led me to find another social support system. This social support directly helps with housing and social services. It is in Los Angeles and is called the Los Angeles LGBT Center. They advocate and help with housing, homeless youth. The goal is to provide affordable housing for LGBT seniors.
Crisis Intervention is a very important part of the Transgender Community. It is a valuable resource or tool used to assist the Transgender community. Crisis Interventions serves as a “go between” among all cultures and society. After researching the Transgender Community, I found two common things in my research. The Transgender community needs social workers to assist with finding the appropriate health care and counseling. This community is stigmatized and discriminated against daily. As a result, it is difficult for them to live normal everyday lives. They are isolated and live in their own worlds. Social workers need to continue to educate themselves as well as policy makers, clinicians and the health care system who seem to cause them the most harm through discrimination and ignorance.
- Seelman, K. L., Colón-Diaz, M., LeCroix, R. H., Xavier-Brier, M., & Kattari, L. (2017). Transgender Noninclusive Healthcare and Delaying Care Because of Fear: Connections to General Health and Mental Health Among Transgender Adults. Transgender health, 2(1), 17-28. doi:10.1089/trgh.2016.0024
- Edward McCann & Michael Brown (2018) Vulnerability and Psychosocial Risk Factors Regarding People who Identify as Transgender. A Systematic Review of the Research Evidence, Issues in Mental Health Nursing,39:1, 3-15, DOI: 10.1080/01612840.2017.1382623
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