Sunday, April 6, 2014

Trans* Health (I don't have anything witty for this)

I've got a lot of friends and loved ones who identify as trans* and I think it's important to include how to be healthy as a trans* individual. Note that I am not trans* identified (more gender non-conforming), I am an ally who wants to help give others info. If you would like for me to add more about this topic, please indicate in the comments below!




Let's begin with the terminology: trans*
I use the asterisk because I believe that trans doesn't always mean transgender, it's a transitioning point for people who don't agree with their gender assigned at birth, and it's an ever-changing point for some. It could mean that this person uses gender non-conforming pronouns, or the pronouns of their opposite gender (i.e. if they were born female, they may choose to use male pronouns), they could wear the clothing that makes them feel like themselves and identify as trans*, they could prefer to be called a transsexual, or they could be someone who says they identify as (insert pronoun here), and they have a trans history. Because I couldn't possibly know everyone's story, I use an asterisk. It's sort of a "DIY Fill in the Blank". Onward!

If you want more information, then follow this link:

Yes, I went there. Now seriously, follow this link -

As one might imagine, there are multiple health concerns that trans* folks deal with during their transition. Mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. The biggest thing to do is to respect that person's preferred gender pronouns and not to ask about their previous identity (who they were born as), as that can be offensive. I'm sure those of you who identify as cisgender (a fancy word that means you use the gender pronouns that match with your identity at birth. Ex: Male at birth = he, him, his) that you have questions and curiosities, which would be normal, I think. However, I'd suggest going to an official website for that information as to how transitioning works or visit a Trans* convention or conference that offers workshops for you to attend.

I myself have been to the Transcending Boundaries conference in Mass that has offered lots of amazing workshops and panels, and I got to meet Kate Bornstein! I'd suggest looking up the nearest GLBTQ or Trans* conference in your area and checking it out.

There are problems concerning trans* people and HIV which still exist. The sex hormones needed for transition (estrogen and testosterone) can be taken via pill, skin patch, and injection. The injection part is what is the concern as far as HIV is considered. If one doesn't use clean needles, HIV can easily be contracted. Reuse of needles also pose health concerns, but we'll get to that in another post.

Some issues that occur during transition include:
Fears of finding a partner
Family and friend relationships
Work relationships
Violence and prejudice
Experiencing surgeries and changes
Changing legal documents.

After transition:
Varying levels of satisfaction with appearance and surgeries
Unaddressed emotional issues
Disappointment.

Overall concerns:
Finding health professionals that will be understanding
People not using preferred pronouns
Suicidal thoughts
Depression & anxiety

As far as physical health, I could not find very many things that were up-to-date and accurate for trans* individuals. I did find a link on what to talk about with your health care provider as a trans* person. Here it is, as well as some information from Fenway Health on Trans* Awareness Week.

http://www.glma.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageID=692

http://fenwayfocus.org/2013/11/transwk-transgender-awareness-week-2013/


Sorry, folks. When I find more information, this will be updated! Please, please feel free to add comments below if there are any mistakes or if there's something I missed. Take care!

- Luka T.



No comments:

Post a Comment