Experiences of transgender-related discrimination and implications for health: results from the Virginia Transgender Health Initiative Study

Am J Public Health. 2013 Oct;103(10):1820-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300796. Epub 2012 Nov 15.


Objectives: We examined relationships between social determinants of health and experiences of transgender-related discrimination reported by transgender people in Virginia.

Methods: In 2005 through 2006, 387 self-identified transgender people completed a statewide health needs assessment; 350 who completed eligibility questions were included in this examination of factors associated with experiences of discrimination in health care, employment, or housing. We fit multivariate logistic regression models using generalized estimating equations to adjust for survey modality (online vs paper).

Results: Of participants, 41% (n = 143) reported experiences of transgender-related discrimination. Factors associated with transgender-related discrimination were geographic context, gender (female-to male spectrum vs male-to-female spectrum), low socioeconomic status, being a racial/ethnic minority, not having health insurance, gender transition indicators (younger age at first transgender awareness), health care needed but unable to be obtained (hormone therapy and mental health services), history of violence (sexual and physical), substance use health behaviors (tobacco and alcohol), and interpersonal factors (family support and community connectedness).

Conclusions: Findings suggest that transgender Virginians experience widespread discrimination in health care, employment, and housing. Multilevel interventions are needed for transgender populations, including legal protections and training for health care providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Odds Ratio
  • Social Discrimination* / statistics & numerical data
  • Transgender Persons*
  • Virginia
  • Young Adult