Trans health and the risks of inappropriate curiosity

BMJ, September 9, 2019

Care providers need to be aware of the damage of inappropriate curiosity when working with people who are transgender, say Adam Shepherd, Benjamin Hanckel, and Andy Guise.

Encountering inappropriate curiosity is a common experience among people who identify as LGBT. This kind of behaviour shouldn’t happen in a healthcare facility, yet recent reports from Stonewall and the government’s Equalities Office confirm that this is a problem in healthcare and that it particularly affects people who are transgender.

What do we mean when we say that a healthcare provider is showing “inappropriate curiosity?” Researchers provided insight into what this is in a study where they describe trans participants being asked intrusive questions about their personal lives and being subjected to invasive physical examinations. Participants felt that these were irrelevant to why they had sought out medical care, and that their only purpose was to satisfy the personal interest of the healthcare practitioner. Imagine, for example, going to your GP for a chronic cough and being asked what genitals you have, or going for a foot X-ray and the radiographer making comments about your breasts.

STIs among transgender men and women attending Australian sexual health clinics

Med J Aust. 2019 Aug 29. doi: 10.5694/mja2.50322. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

Objectives

To estimate rates of HIV infection, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and infectious syphilis in transgender men and women in Australia; to compare these rates with those for cisgender people.

Design

Cross‐sectional, comparative analysis of de‐identified health data.

Setting, participants

We analysed data for 1260 transgender people (404 men, 492 women, 364 unrecorded gender), 78 108 cisgender gay and bisexual men, and 309 740 cisgender heterosexual people who attended 46 sexual health clinics across Australia during 2010–2017.

Main outcome measures

First‐visit test positivity for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), stratified by patient group and year; demographic and behavioural factors associated with having STIs.

Results

14 of 233 transgender men (6.0%) and 34 of 326 transgender women (10%) tested during first clinic visits were chlamydia‐positive; nine transgender men (4%) and 28 transgender women (8.6%) were gonorrhoea‐positive. One of 210 tested transgender men (0.5%) and ten of 324 tested transgender women (3.1%) were diagnosed with infectious syphilis; 14 transgender men (3.5%) and 28 transgender women (5.7%) were HIV‐positive at their first visit. The only significant change in prevalence of an STI among transgender patients during the study period was the increased rate of gonorrhoea among transgender women (from 3.1% to 9.8%). Compared with cisgender gay and bisexual men, transgender men were less likely (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.29–0.71; P = 0.001) and transgender women as likely (aOR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.73–1.32; P = 0.92) to be diagnosed with a bacterial STI; compared with heterosexual patients, transgender men were as likely (aOR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.46–1.13; P = 0.16) and transgender women more likely (aOR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.16–2.10; P = 0.003) to receive a first‐visit bacterial STI diagnosis.

Conclusions

The epidemiology of STIs in transgender people attending Australian sexual health clinics differs from that of cisgender patients. Gender details must be captured by health data systems to facilitate appropriate delivery of sexual health care.

Free legal resources for young trans & gender diverse people

Justice Connect, 2019

Justice Connect have released a suite of free legal resources for young trans & gender diverse people and their families. These are available state by state to make it easier to understand the different legalities between each state and territory.

He, she, or … ? Gender-neutral pronouns reduce biases – study

The Guardian, Tue 6 Aug 2019 

A new study has found that using a gender-neutral pronoun reduces mental biases that favour men, and boosts positive feelings towards women and LGBT people.

The finding marks an easy win, the researchers believe, and shows how a minor change in language can help chip away at long-standing gender inequities.

 

The Aboriginal Gender Study

Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, 2019

Partnering with the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, the Aboriginal Gender Study aimed to explore, from a strengths-based perspective, the diversity of contemporary perspectives of gender, gender roles and gender equity in South Australian Aboriginal communities.

The project addressed three overall questions comprising:

1. What is the current evidence about gender roles and gender equity in the Australian
literature and Australian policy documents regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people?

2. What is the current understanding of gender roles and relationships in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

3. What might gender equity/fairness look like for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, adults, families and communities?

For findings and recommendations, please see report:

 

Disrupting gender norms in health systems: making the case for change

The Lancet, Gender Equality, Norms, and Health Steering Committee, Published May 30, 2019

Summary

Restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities are replicated and reinforced in health systems, contributing to gender inequalities in health.
In this Series paper, we explore how to address all three through recognition and then with disruptive solutions.
We used intersectional feminist theory to guide our systematic reviews, qualitative case studies based on lived experiences, and quantitative analyses based on cross-sectional and evaluation research.
We found that health systems reinforce patients’ traditional gender roles and neglect gender inequalities in health, health system models and clinic-based programmes are rarely gender responsive, and women have less authority as health workers than men and are often devalued and abused.
With regard to potential for disruption, we found that gender equality policies are associated with greater representation of female physicians, which in turn is associated with better health outcomes, but that gender parity is insufficient to achieve gender equality. We found that institutional support and respect of nurses improves quality of care, and that women’s empowerment collectives can increase health-care access and provider responsiveness.
We see promise from social movements in supporting women’s reproductive rights and policies. Our findings suggest we must view gender as a fundamental factor that predetermines and shapes health systems and outcomes. Without addressing the role of restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities within and outside health systems, we will not reach our collective ambitions of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. We propose action to systematically identify and address restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities in health systems.