Photo by NICK GRAHAM

Advocates: Transgender patients face barriers to healthcare

Patients who are transgender face uncommon obstacles in daily medical care, a new study by advocacy groups found.

In Georgia, 33 percent of transgender patients had some kind of negative experience in medical care, up to and including being refused care. The other types of negative experiences included being assaulted, being verbally harassed, or having to educate the caregiver on transgender healthcare.

Those figures came from national research that was included in the local study. The Georgia researchers also did a separate query on their own soliciting transgender patients. Of those patients who came forward to participate, fully 33 percent said they had been denied care at some point because they were transgender.

A quarter had avoided seeing a doctor when they needed to, out of fear of being mistreated.

The report notes that federal rules prohibit discrimination against transgender patients, and it was written as the White House considers changing that rule. The groups that produced the study, Georgians for a Healthy Future, Georgia Equality and The Health Initiative, oppose such a change. They also support educating health care workers on transgender patients.

Conservative groups have argued that individual caregivers should be free to take their own stance and not face such mandates.

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