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Featured Article Original Investigation
Sari L. Reisner
Jaclyn M. White Hughto
Emilia E. Dunham
Katherine J. Heflin
Jesse Blue Glass Begenyi
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Context: Gender minority people who are transgender or gender nonconforming experience widespread discrimination and health inequities. Since 2012, Massachusetts law has provided protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, housing, credit, public education, and hate crimes. The law does not, however, protect against discrimination in public accommodations (eg, hospitals, health centers, transportation, nursing homes, supermarkets, retail establishments). For this article, we examined the frequency and health correlates of public accommodations discrimination among gender minority adults in Massachusetts, with attention to discrimination in health care settings.
Methods: In 2013, we recruited a community-based sample (n = 452) both online and in person. The respondents completed a 1-time, electronic survey assessing demographics, health, health care utilization, and discrimination in public accommodations venues in the past 12 months. Using adjusted multivariable logistic regression models, we examined whether experiencing public accommodations discrimination in health care was independently associated with adverse self-reported health, adjusting for discrimination in other public accommodations settings.
Findings: Overall, 65% of respondents reported public accommodations discrimination in the past 12 months. The 5 most prevalent discrimination settings were transportation (36%), retail (28%), restaurants (26%), public gatherings (25%), and health care (24%). Public accommodations discrimination in the past 12 months in health care settings was independently associated with a 31% to 81% increased risk of adverse emotional and physical symptoms and a 2-fold to 3-fold increased risk of postponement of needed care when sick or injured and of preventive or routine health care, adjusting for discrimination in other public accommodations settings (which also conferred an additional 20% to 77% risk per discrimination setting endorsed).
Conclusions: Discrimination in public accommodations is common and is associated with adverse health outcomes among transgender and gender-nonconforming adults in Massachusetts. Discrimination in health care settings creates a unique health risk for gender minority people. The passage and enforcement of transgender rights laws that include protections against discrimination in public accommodations—inclusive of health care—are a public health policy approach critically needed to address transgender health inequities.
Author(s): Sari L. Reisner, Jaclyn M. White Hughto, Emilia E. Dunham, Katherine J. Heflin, Jesse Blue Glass Begenyi, Julia Coffey-Esquivel, and Sean Cahill
Keywords: transgender, discrimination, health, policy
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Volume 93, Issue 3 (pages 484–515) DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.12127 Published in 2015
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The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.