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Transgendered persons in population research -- Evaluation, Gender identity, Transgendered persons -- Medical care -- Research


Transgender people deserve representation in population-based research, particularly health research, whether the research is programmatic or academic. Unfortunately, the existing academic literature includes very little about the particular health burdens and risks experienced by transgender people, such as institutional or interpersonal anti-transgender discrimination. While several anti-transgender biases are manifest in the published literature, one deserving particular attention by researcher is that transgender individuals seldom have an opportunity to self-identify as such both because sex and gender are typically collapsed into a single question in interviews and on surveys (e.g. ‘Sex: male or female.’), and because change in the individual’s sex or gender is typically not represented. This talk presents the results of the collaborative efforts of four queer and transgender health professionals who seek just and accurate representation of transgender individuals in research, and brings attention to the special challenges facing researchers because gender variation and the language used to describe it are occasionally labile and often contested. In doing so, we emphasize special difficulties in identifying transgender children and youth. We outline six principles to guide the solicitation of gender identity during research in a manner that is inclusive of transgender identity, and also we give examples of the problematic misrepresentations that can arise when violating these principles in research. Because we understand that questions equal money in survey research, this presentation concludes by building from our outlined principles with our recommendations for a minimal set of questions pertaining to gender identity, prioritized according to the number of questions about transgender permitted on a survey. It is our desire to see population researchers engage in more inclusive and respectful research relating to transgender persons, that the health experiences of specifically transgender individuals and populations may be better known, understood, and improved.


Presented at the 1st International Conference of Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Psychology and Related Fields, Lisbon, Portugal, 2013.

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