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The Cost of Stigma: Understanding and Addressing Health Implications of Transphobia and Discrimination on Transgender and Gender Diverse People

There are a range of negative experiences trans and gender diverse people encounter when trying to access healthcare in a cis-normative society. These negative experiences, both systemic and interpersonal, produce unique stressors that can lead directly to negative health outcomes including poor physical or mental health. They can also be a barrier to utilising healthcare when a previous experience of discrimination leads to future avoidance of accessing services. It is vital to understand the nature, extent and impact of stressors on trans and gender diverse people’s use of healthcare services. Only then, interventions can be implemented to mitigate stressors and improve healthcare access and utilization.

APTN, together with four country partners: GWL INA from Indonesia, the Blue Diamond Society (BDS) from Nepal, the SISTERS Foundation from Thailand, and the Vietnam Transgender Network (VNTG), supported by the Centre for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI), embarked on an ambitious research project, the Key Populations Research & Advocacy, to document the experiences of trans and gender diverse people in the healthcare settings. The purpose of the study was to document the barriers and gaps in  access to HIV and other health services for trans and gender diverse people in these four countries. The research was designed and implemented by trans and gender diverse researchers in each country. Consistent with our community principles of “Nothing about us without us,” this process has built the capacity of trans and gender diverse people to utilise research methodologies and data to collect information for evidence-based advocacy to promote quality, trans-responsive and competent healthcare services. This research aims to bridge the gaps in the availability of trans-specific data. We believe this is the first large-scale trans community-led research, providing essential information into our lived experiences of accessing healthcare services. This research was made possible through funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and Save the Children Nepal.

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