Creating a Trans-inclusive Healthcare Environment
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Creating a Trans-inclusive Healthcare Environment

Although society is becoming increasingly more accepting towards trans and gender non-conforming persons, most people are not aware of the difficulties that trans persons may encounter in all aspects of daily life. However, a few minor adjustments and attention to certain issues can make a health care environment much more trans-friendly, and thus make the road to healthcare easier and more pleasant for trans persons. This can be about dealing correctly with trans patients and clients in how they are addressed, for example, screening of administration procedures, forms and correspondence on the use of name and gender registration and creating systems that account for the needs of trans patients, sensitivity with regard to confidentiality and ethics, attention for gender-inclusive infrastructure, and awareness of what the sensitivities are with relation to physical examinations.

Why is attention to a trans-inclusive healthcare environment so important?
Research shows that many trans persons are afraid of going to a care provider when facing health problems (FRA, 2017; Burgwal & Motmans, 2021). Trans persons report inappropriate curiosity from care providers, ignoring trans-specific needs, being pressured to undergo a medical or psychological test, being treated unequally by medical staff, not seeking treatment out of fear of discrimination and intolerant reactions, and difficulties to find access to healthcare (FRA, 2014).

The multiple negative experiences of trans persons with health care naturally have a far-reaching influence on the patient. Many trans persons will avoid or delay health care and will only call on a practitioner in very serious cases or after a long time (Burgwal & Motmans, 2021). This has serious consequences on their physical health, but can also cause additional stress and mental health issues. For several trans persons, a negative experience with a care provider can even be traumatic. This further complicates their access to both general and trans-specific health care.

Two young people in a gender neutral bathroom
Photo: The Gender Spectrum Collection

  • Burgwal, A., & Motmans, J. (2021). Trans and gender diverse people’s experiences and evaluations with general and trans-specific healthcare services: a cross-sectional survey. International Journal of Impotence Research
  • Fundamental Rights Agency (2014). EU LGBT survey Technical report​
  • Fundamental Rights Agency. (2020). A long way to go for LGBTI equality. Publications Office of the European Union.​