Wednesday, One Colorado Education Fund – the leading statewide organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Coloradans and their families – released a groundbreaking new report, Transparent, that highlights the unique barriers transgender Coloradans face in getting the health care they need. This report is the first of its kind on the health concerns of transgender people at the state level.
“This report is an important part of the work we are doing every day to ensure that transgender people are living healthy, thriving lives,” said Leo Kattari, Health Policy Manager at One Colorado Education Fund. “It includes the findings from a transgender health survey fielded earlier this year, with concrete recommendations for the medical community and health care advocates to improve the health experiences of the transgender community and of all Coloradans.”
The results in the report show that transgender and gender nonconforming Coloradans experience multiple barriers when trying to access transgender-friendly health care that meets their needs.
Key findings include:
- The Affordable Care Act – specifically the expansion of Medicaid in Colorado – greatly increased the number of transgender Coloradans who are covered, which means more transgender people will have access to consistent health care. Still, many transgender people indicated that they had delayed needed care due to cost, not having insurance, or having inadequate coverage.
- While the physical health of transgender Coloradans may be similar to the general Colorado population, the mental health statistics are drastically different – due in no small part to the powerful societal and systemic barriers they face. Transgender Coloradans report alarmingly high rates of depression, thoughts about committing suicide, and suicide attempts. In fact, transgender Coloradans are almost 6 times more likely to report current depression and four times more likely to report ever having an anxiety disorder than the general population.
- A major indicator of the health and well-being of transgender Coloradans is having access to a transgender-friendly health provider. When a patient perceives their provider to be someone they can trust, the likelihood that they will receive quality care is higher. This underscores the importance of Colorado’s health providers providing care and services that are culturally responsive and clinically competent.
“Until the medical community understands who transgender people are and has studied the data on the health disparities they face, transgender Coloradans’ health care needs will never truly be addressed,” said Kattari. “We have worked hard to begin tackling the barriers that transgender Coloradans face in our health systems, but there is much more work to do to ensure that all of us are receiving the care and the coverage we deserve.”