Kerr, L and Miller, AB and Zimitat, C, Transgender Ageing: A Tasmanian Perspective, Health In Difference 2015. Working together for Health. 9th National LGBT Health Conference, 13-15 August, 2015, Canberra, Australia (2015) [Conference Extract]
Research into transgender individuals’ health and ageing is limited in Australia and internationally. An ageing population and an increase in openly identifying transgender people necessitate an expanded evidence base to inform practice. Without a solid evidence base guiding practice, this population may receive substandard, inappropriate care. This study aimed to uncover transgender Tasmanian’s experiences, views and expectations as they relate to health, wellbeing, ageing and aged care.
Recruitment procedures, ethical considerations and community involvement were guided by the transformative paradigm. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants who identified as transgender. Data analysis used grounded theory methods. The substantive grounded theory that emerged from the data relates to the interplay of experiences, views and expectations and the influence these have on the development of future health behaviours and outcomes. Other findings demonstrate that transgender individuals have unique health needs which are often unmet. This is because many professionals do not have the knowledge to provide appropriate care and services are lacking. In addition to this it was found that being open about one’s gender identity in healthcare may put the individual at a higher risk of discrimination.
These significant health disparities may be exacerbated into old age and aged care. The findings demonstrate the complexities in caring for transgender people and highlight the need for increased understanding and awareness, appropriate use of language and improved access. Further research is needed in this area, with development of guidelines for screening services and suicide in transgender elders being of particular concern.