A recent study published in the journal of LGBT Health (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2014), reported findings that reveal health disparities among the transgender community within the U.S. These studies involved comparing transgender participants to non-transgender, otherwise known as cisgender, participants.
The common assumption is that the transgender community suffers from more cases of sexually transmitted diseases, along with other physical and mental health problems, than their cisgender counterparts. What has been missing, however, is an adequate comparison of transgender and cisgender participants from similar cultural and geographical backgrounds, thus eliminating those influencing factors.
This study provided important information regarding the overall health and wellness of the transgender community and helped combat the stereotype that those within this community are more likely to have STDs. Coming from the same geographical and cultural backgrounds, the transgender and cisgender communities had an equal amount of sexual transmitted diseases. The common factor among individuals with a higher presence of sexual and mental health issues, therefore, was the urban culture they came from; with economic status and cultural background being the most reoccurring commonality.
Research studies such as this help disprove findings based on limited comparisons and narrow views that don’t take other important factors into consideration. It’s hoped that with time better research methods will help the health stigma placed on the transgender community be demolished.
Dr. M. Mirza, LGBT Health Wellness – April 2014