Equality in Transgender Healthcare

In a 2015 national survey, 1 in 3 members of the transgender community reported at least one negative experience in the past year with a healthcare practitioner. These experiences included verbal harassment, refusal of treatment and having to advocate for appropriate care. In the same survey, 1 in 4 individuals reported postponing needed treatment due to fear of discrimination as a transgender person (James, et al, 2016). 

These barriers to basic healthcare reduce the probability of diagnosing and treating individuals at critical stages of disease. In addition, they increase feelings of isolation, which is shown to increase instances of addiction, depression, and suicide (Lee, Kanji, 2017).  

There are two main ways the LGBTQ community and allies are working to eliminate barriers to healthcare. The first is to change policies at a state and federal level to shape guidelines for healthcare practice. The second is to educate and train healthcare practitioners to create a safe and supportive environment for their transgender clients. 

For my capstone project, I am partnering with agencies around Nashville to contribute to the education and training of healthcare providers. I am teamed with Kathy Halbrooks who is the Middle Tennessee Coordinator for the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) and co-chair of PFLAG, a support group for LGBTQ individuals, their family, friends, and allies as well as OutCentral, LGBTQ Community Center in Greater Nashville.  

We are working to create a short, documentary-style film. The film will be composed of three parts. First, it will speak to experiences of the transgender community in the healthcare system. Second, it will look at how these experiences affected physical and mental health. Third, this film will act to educate healthcare providers on ways to decrease stigma and discrimination in their workplace and create a compasionate and inclusive environment for their transgender clients. 

The money donated to this fund will go towards alleviating costs of production to create the film.  The final film will be given to the TTPC to be used as part of their education program for healthcare practitioners around Nashville, Tn.    


James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

Lee, A., Kanji, Z. (2017). Queering the healthcare system: Experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene. 51 (2):80-89
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Leah Carlisle 
Nashville, TN