Exploring an oppressed group: A study of the health and social service needs of transgendered people in Philadelphia
Transgendered people have suffered from discrimination and oppression. They are believed to be at high-risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. However, very limited information about the health and social service needs of transgendered people is known. In addition, no studies in the academic literature explore these issues among transgendered people with a broad range of gender identities.
This dissertation is an exploratory study of the health and social service needs of a diverse group of transgendered people in Philadelphia. Two needs assessment surveys, conducted in 1997, were used as the data sources for this dissertation. The total sample consists of 182 transgendered people, 62.1 percent are male-to-females (MTFs, n = 113) and 37.9 percent are female-to-males (FTMs, n = 69). Two-fifths (41.3%) are African American, one-third (33.0%) are Caucasian, and the rest (25.7%) are other.
Transgendered people are an isolated group in need of many health and social services. Among the key findings were high risk for HIV infection, high levels of physical and sexual abuse, and high levels of attempted suicide. The findings also show that respondents have difficulty accessing health care. In addition, transgender status is a factor affecting their ability to obtain services. Differences between MTFs and FTMs as well as whites and non-whites are explored. Limitations of the study are presented. Implications for social work are discussed based on the findings.
0573: Public health