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Transgender* patients avoid medical care because of discrimination

Transgendered people in Ontario were surveyed by the Trans PULSE Project about their experiences in hospital emergency departments. The study revealed that many people who are transgendered avoid seeking emergency care as a result of bad experiences, or the expectation of a bad experience. Trans-specific negative experiences in emergency rooms were reported by more than half of those surveyed who had sought care in their felt gender.

A key factor contributing to trans-related discrimination and poor quality of care is lack of education. Most health professionals have not received specific training about how to competently and respectfully serve their patients. This study highlights the importance of hospitals and other health sector institutions providing specific training on how to provide care for patients who identify as transgendered. Training would help health care providers offer the best possible care, and also reduce the risk of a future human rights claim. And, most importantly, it would make the health care system a more welcoming place so that people who need care do not suffer unnecessarily for fear of discriminatory treatment.

* Transgender, transsexual, or transitioned people

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