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Biography Essay Humanities Journal/Diary Law/Legal Natural Sciences Nonfiction Social Sciences

“It’s kind of hard to go to the doctor’s office if you’re hated there.” A call for gender-affirming care from transgender and gender diverse adolescents in the United States

By Marla E. Eisenberg, Barbara J. McMorris, G. Nic Rider, Amy L. Gower, and Eli Coleman , 2020

Research has identified discrimination and a lack of knowledgeable providers as major barriers for transgender and gender diverse (TGD) individuals seeking care, which contributes to greater stress and significant health disparities affecting this population. However, research involving TGD youth is limited. The aim of this study, therefore, was to describe TGD adolescents’ experiences, concerns and needs in healthcare settings, including their feedback on themes previously identified by healthcare providers (i.e. discomfort with gender-related topics, reasons for not asking patients about gender and previous training regarding gender diversity). The authors conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 TGD-identified adolescents aged 14–17, living in Minnesota, USA in 2017–2018. Inductive thematic analysis was used to summarise participant comments into themes and subthemes. Two main themes were directly relevant to concerns and needs of TGD youth in healthcare settings and their views on healthcare providers’ concerns: (a) asking about gender and pronouns and (b) training for healthcare providers. Findings suggest the need for revisions to clinic materials, infrastructure and protocols. Adding training to all general medical and nursing education to increase knowledge, comfort and competence around gender identity would further improve care and ultimately reduce healthcare disparities affecting TGD youth.

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