Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Well Maybe Not

There is an article in the Medical Press and a recent survey that was done in Massachusetts for transgender health coverage. The article said that it was “A first-of-its-kind study of transgender health”, I know of other surveys that studied transgender health care. Most surveys ask question about health coverage, including the study that we did in the Hartford area.
A first-of-its-kind study of transgender health
Medical Press
November 21, 2011

For her study, Conron used the Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone survey of randomly selected adults in the Commonwealth who voluntarily answer questions about their health. Starting in 2007, the survey began asking people if they considered themselves to be transgender, a term used to describe someone whose assigned sex at birth does not completely match their current gender identity.
“My colleagues and I expected to find higher rates of unemployment and poverty and poorer health among transgender adults compared to non-transgender adults,” said Conron, who based the hypothesis on previous research on socially marginalized populations. “We were surprised to find that transgender adults reported health that is comparable to the non-transgender adult population, despite having higher rates of unemployment and poverty.”
According to Conron, several factors might explain why transgender adults in Massachusetts are relatively healthy despite reduced work opportunities, including near-universal access to health care in the Commonwealth.

“It is also important to remember that there is a sizable body of research showing that some segment of the transgender community has very poor health, including high rates of exposure to discrimination and violence victimization and the types of health problems that develop as a result of such experiences,” Conron said. “This means that our study may have reached a select group of people who were fortunate to be living in fairly stable households and who have better health because of their circumstances. A great deal more research is needed on transgender health, including studies to expand on our findings.”
Another reason might be their definition of transgender, “a term used to describe someone whose assigned sex at birth does not completely match their current gender identity” which is overly broad and unless they asked other questions about how they identified. Otherwise they could also include closeted trans-people which would have skewed the results upward. If they did ask those questions, it would be interesting the difference between the out and closeted trans-people.

On our survey we asked…
The following section contains questions about experiences related to health care coverage and access. The questions will be sensitive in nature; however, it is important for us to gather this information. Please remember that your answers will remain anonymous and confidential.

Before beginning Question H1, please read the instructions in the box above.

(H1) Do you currently have health insurance?
No (skip to H3)

(H2) If you presently have health insurance, how are you covered? (check all that apply)
Connecticut Insurance Assistance Program for AIDS Patients
Private health insurance through my employer
Private health insurance I pay for directly
Private health insurance through my parents or family
Private health insurance through my domestic partner

(H3) Have you ever been denied enrollment in a health insurance plan because you are a cross-dresser, transsexual, drag queen or drag king?

(H4) Do you see a doctor for routine health care? (check one)

(H5) Which of the following do you use for your main source of health care needs? (check one)
Primary care doctor
Emergency room
Walk-in clinic
We also asked demographic questions along with questions about how “Out” they are, it they go out in public dressed, if they are full time, etc. since our study was only a pilot study, we only had 15 people take the survey and it is not enough to draw conclusions from the data.

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