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Aiming to understand how health and social care services can better address the needs of young trans and gender diverse people and their families.

A transgender woman in a hospital gown speaking to her doctor a transgender man in an exam room

Background:

Gender identity clinics provide specialist services for people who feel that their gender is different from the gender that they were assigned at birth. It is estimated that 1% of the population is gender diverse to some extent (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2012).

Demand for gender identity clinics is increasing; there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of referrals to the Tavistock and Portman Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) for young people (the only NHS funded service for gender diverse young people in England and Wales with clinics in London, Leeds and Bristol). In 2012/13, 324 young people were referred; five years later in 2017/18 there were 2,519 referrals – a nearly eightfold increase in 5 years. With the rise in children and young people coming forward over a short period of time, waiting times have increased. While waiting, young people and their families are likely to have questions, concerns and support needs during this period.

Gender diverse people often face not only poorer health but face significant stigma, discrimination, isolation and exclusion. Finding balanced online information can be challenging as views about transgender issues vary widely and conversations online can be polarised and contentious. More research is needed on the experiences, information and support needs of young people waiting for gender identity clinics.

What the project will involve:

The 2.5 year qualitative study will develop a full and all round better understanding of young gender diverse peoples’ experience as well as family perspectives and those of health professionals who work in or with gender identity health services. The research will comprise of 90 in-depth interviews with young people, adults, families, and health professionals.

The research outputs include the production of sections of the website www.healthtalk.org – one on trans and gender diverse young people’s experiences of health, and the other on family (parent/carers/sibling) experiences.

The website sections will importantly include more general everyday experiences of living as trans and gender diverse, including experiences of school or work, friendships, relationships and social life. It will provide a valuable platform for young trans people’s voices to be heard as well as including parent/carer and sibling perspectives through video and audio footage from real-life interviews, presented form the perspective of those with first-hand experience.

Both resources will be of value to the wider general public as well as health professionals who can learn more about the health needs of young trans people and how to better support family members.

The website will also include a section on terminology and will be evaluated by young people and their families to ensure it is relevant and useful.

A national stakeholder event will be organised to present key findings from the research, explore best practice and potential for service improvements and recommendations to help health and care staff to respond effectively to young people and their families.

The benefits this will bring:

This project aims to improve the care and support of trans, gender diverse and gender questioning people, and their families, by identifying possible improvements to care and by providing resources, information and support for self-management. This will help health and care staff to respond effectively to young people and their families.

Are you a young trans, gender diverse or gender questioning person (age 12-25) who'd like to get involved in the project?

Join our Facebook group here for further info and updates: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/transhealthtalk

 

If you'd like to find out more about this project please contact:

Sam Martin (Postdoctoral researcher): sam.martin@phc.ox.ac.uk  

Magdalena Mikulak (Postdoctoral researcher): magdalena.mikulak@phc.ox.ac.uk

Angela Martin (Project co-ordinator): angela.martin@phc.ox.ac.uk

 

This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) HS&DR programme (project reference 17/51/07). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care

Co-investigators (Oxford):

Dr Sam Martin

Dr Magdalena Mikulak

Mr Adam Barnett

Dr Lisa Hinton

Prof John Powell

Dr Sara Ryan

Prof Sue Ziebland

External co-investigators:

Dr Sarah Davidson is consultant clinical psychologist at the Tavistock and Portman Gender Identity Development Service.

Dr Jay Stewart is founder and CEO of Gendered Intelligence, a community organisation.

Dr Richard Ma is a GP principal and an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow based at Imperial College London.

Ms Ellie Roberts is a psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in Oxfordshire with extensive experience of working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

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