A Review of Transgender Health in Canada

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Travis William Davidson



Transgendered individuals are defined by having a gender identity different from their birth gender. These individuals form a prevalent distinct group within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) community that has specific health needs. The goal of the current work is to identify the health needs affecting transgendered individuals in order to guide potential health interventions to ameliorate their well-being. Transgendered individuals often experience elevated rates of social stigma, discrimination and prejudice, which can alienate them from other members of society including family members and health care professionals. This can have negative effects on their employment and socioeconomic status and may even render them targets of hate crimes. The combination of these factors can have significant ill effects on the physical and mental health of transgendered individuals. For example, high rates of depression and anxiety are observed within this population with a reported suicide attempt rate of over 30%. Transgendered individuals are also at high risk of being infected with HIV, with those having undergone the transition from male to female (MTF) being most affected. Although Canada is ahead of the curve in equal rights pertaining to the LGBT community compared to many countries worldwide that still have anti-homosexual legislation, there still exists a considerable amount of stigma around the transgendered community. There is a need to educate the population at large to combat social stigma in order to reduce discrimination, increase social support, improve access to health services and ultimately improve the physical and mental wellbeing of transgendered people.


Les personnes transgenres sont définies comme ayant une identité de genre différente de leur sexe de naissance. Ces personnes forment un groupe distinct au sein de la communauté des lesbiennes, gais, bisexuels et transsexuels (LGBT), ayant des besoins de santé spécifiques. Le but du travail actuel est d’identifier les besoins de santé touchant les personnes transgenres afin de guider les interventions de santé potentielles pour améliorer leur bien-être. Les personnes transgenres éprouvent souvent des taux élevés de stigmatisation sociale, de discrimination et de préjugés, ce qui peut les aliéner des autres membres de la société y compris les membres de leur famille et des professionnels de soins de santé. Cela peut avoir des effets négatifs sur leur emploi et leur statut socioéconomique et peut même les rendre cibles de crimes haineux. La combinaison de ces facteurs peut avoir des effets néfastes importants sur la santé physique et mentale des personnes transgenres. Par exemple, des taux élevés de dépression et d’anxiété sont observés dans cette population avec un taux de tentative de suicide déclaré de plus de 30%. Les personnes transgenres sont également à risque élevé d’être infectées par le VIH, celles ayant subi la transition d’homme à femme (MTF) étant les plus touchés. Bien que le Canada soit en avance dans l’égalité des droits se rapportant à la communauté LGBT par rapport à de nombreux pays à travers le monde, il existe encore une quantité considérable de stigmatisation qui entoure la communauté transgenre. Il est nécessaire d’éduquer la population dans son ensemble à lutter contre la stigmatisation sociale afin de réduire la discrimination, d’accroître le soutien social, d’améliorer l’accès aux services de santé et, finalement, d’améliorer le bien-être physique et mental des personnes transgenres.

Article Details

Review & Clinical Practice


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