HEALTH SERVICE USE AND EXPERIENCES OF TRANSGENDER PEOPLE: AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND PERSPECTIVES by ProQuest

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									Gay & Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2009



HEALTH SERVICE USE AND EXPERIENCES OF TRANSGENDER
PEOPLE: AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND PERSPECTIVES

MARIAN PITTS, MURRAY COUCH, SAMANTHA CROY, ANNE MITCHELL AND
HUNTER MULCARE

                     Abstract                                    negative. A report by Perkins, Griffin and
                                                                 Jacobsen (1994) described a nationally-
Health service use and experiences of people                     acquired sample of 146 transgendered people
who identified as transgender, in Australia and                  but this early study has not been extended.
New Zealand, were examined. Participants                         Two more recent studies are an assessment of
were invited to complete a web-based survey                      satisfaction with sex re-assignment surgery in
that allowed for closed and open responses.                      New South Wales (Collyer & Heal, 2002), and
In total, 253 respondents completed the sur-                     a discussion paper, commissioned by the Vic-
vey; 229 were from Australia and 24 from                         torian government, on best practice models
New Zealand; 75.5% (191) reported the sex                        for the assessment, treatment and care of
recorded on their birth certificate as male and                  transgender people and people with transsex-
24.5% (62) as female; 82.2% of participants                      ualism (Sinnot, 2005). Notwithstanding these
reported they had a regular doctor; of these,                    state-specific studies, there is a need to estab-
83.4% reported a check up in the last year.                      lish the health service needs and experiences
Mental health professionals had been ac-                         of transgender people and their satisfaction
cessed by 47.4% of the sample. Approxi-                          with current services, both in relation to gen-
mately 73% reported use of hormone treat-                        der transitioning, and more general health
ments for gender-related reasons and 39.1%                       service needs.
of respondents reported having had gender-
related surgery. Similar proportions of as-                                            Method
signed males and females reported surgery.
Participants cited many examples of positive                     The internet provides safe spaces for non-
and negative experiences with health profes-                     heterosexual individuals and communities, and
sionals. Health and medical services play a                      so can be used to reach fragmented popula-
critical role in gender affirmation for many                     tions spread across large distances. The ano-
transgender people but they were also subject                    nymity of an online survey provides an oppor-
to strong criticisms from participants.                          tunity for participants to protect their identity,
                                                                 and reduces fear of discovery or being ‘outed’
Key Words:       Transgender, health, trans,                     in terms of their non-conforming gender iden-
transphobia, queer, queerhate                                    tity or feelings. Studies of transgender people
                                                                 have predominantly recruited from clinical
                  Introduction                                   sites in major cities, but our use of online
                                                                 methodology allowed access from all parts of
Relating to health services and health service                   Australia and New Zealand (Meese, 1997). To
providers can be a difficult experience for                      capture the v
								
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