Trans Lives Matter protest at Creating Change 2015

New study finds trans and gender non-conforming people face greater health risks

A new study from Indiana University confirmed previous research suggesting that transgender or gender non-conforming people are at greater risk for poor health outcomes than the general population.

The study, which consists of new analysis of data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, connects greater experiences of transphobic discrimination with poorer health behaviors:

Consistent with other findings, the study found that the more everyday and major discrimination a transgender person experienced, the more likely they were to engage in health-harming behaviors, such as attempting suicide, abusing drugs or alcohol, and smoking. This is further evidence that the mental health consequences transgender people experience are not a result of being transgender, but a result of how they are treated for being transgender.

Furthermore, the study found that trans people were more likely to experience discrimination if they were perceived to be trans or gender nonconforming.

In other words, this study makes a direct connection between the everyday discrimination that transgender and gender non-conforming people face — on the streets, at their jobs, in their communities — and health-harming behaviors. For those of us who are in community with trans and gender non-conforming folks this is not particularly surprising; of course experiences of discrimination, especially at the violent levels at which we see it directed toward trans women of color, have an effect on people’s wellbeing.

But while the right is busy trying to convince every bigot they can that transgender people are inherently mentally ill, the science is starting to pile up: it’s the bigots themselves — and the transphobic systems they set up — that are doing trans folks the most harm.

Header image credit: The Advocate

New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

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