Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20

In the hopes that this memorial will one day become unnecessary, we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) with attention to health issues.

The 2011 Institute of Medicine report The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding provided alarming but not entirely surprising information about health disparities among sexual minority people, including transgender people.

Among its more salient findings:

  • Some research suggests that young transgender women are at significant risk for homelessness.
  • Research based on smaller convenience samples suggests that elevated rates of suicidal ideation and attempts as well as depression exist among transgender adults; however, little research has examined the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in this population.
  • Limited research among transgender adults indicates that substance use is a concern for this population.
  • Limited research suggests that transgender elders may experience negative health outcomes as a result of long-term hormone use.

These data are significant and persuasive. The human dimensions, however, may be more powerfully represented in the documentary Transgender Tuesdays: A Clinic in the Tenderloin.

Transgender lives are more than statistics.

About Thomas Lawrence Long

Associate professor-in-residence, School of Nursing, University of Connecticut; editor and writing coach
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