The Inland Empire Transgender Health and Wellness Profile survey report was released by the Riverside University Health System-Department of Public Health on Tuesday. This was the organization’s inaugural report on the health and wellness of the area’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community.
Transgender is a term used to describes people who identify with or express a gender different from the gender assigned to them at birth. The transgender population of the Inland Empire is estimated at nearly 27,000—this includes an estimated 14,166 transgender individuals in Riverside County and approximately 12,769 in San Bernardino County.
The majority of individuals who participated in the survey had higher education levels but lower income levels than the general population; and more than 93 percent had some form of health insurance.
Among the survey’s most concerning results was the fact that at least 75 percent of respondents had seriously considered committing suicide; while nearly 68 percent reported having depression or an anxiety disorder.
There is little doubt transgender and gender non-conforming individuals face many forms of discrimination that affect their health. The report stressed that, “To achieve health equity, we need to understand the current health status of all Inland Empire residents.” However, when it comes to transgender health, there is limited information about the health issues that affect this population.
The survey also revealed that nearly one in four of respondents agreed they will be refused medical services because they identify as transgender; while nearly sixty percent agreed, they will be treated differently by medical personnel due to being transgender. In addition, 81 percent agreed that the community around them fears or dislikes them due to being transgender. The perception of discrimination can prevent transgender patients from accessing health care.
According to the report, “The perception of discrimination can prevent transgender patients from accessing health care.”
Health officials consider local data collection a key step to increase the level of knowledge and understanding of issues affecting the transgender community. “This needs assessment should be considered a first step in guiding future research and health programs in the Inland Empire and not as a representative description of all people who identify as transgender in the Inland Empire.”
The survey report also provides transgender statistics on physical and verbal abuse and income. To view the report in detail visit www.rivcoph.org.