A new study, published in Pediatrics, finds that transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth show lower rates of health care utilization and suffer poorer health than cisgender youth.

Lead author Nic Rider, PhD, Program in Human Sexuality, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, analyzed data from the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey, which comprises self-reported responses from more than 80,000 ninth and 11th-grade students regarding gender identity and measures of health and care utilization.

"While the disparities seen in our study are concerning, TGNC adolescents, by and large, are utilizing health care services and most are not suffering long-term physical health problems," says Dr. Rider. "Overall, this is good news and helps us find opportunities for intervention and improving support to decrease barriers to care." 

As a result of their findings, Drs. Rider and Marla Eisenberg, senior co-author on the study, suggest that health care providers screen for health risks and help identify barriers to care for transgender and gender non-conforming youth.

“Our previous research has shown that TGNC adolescents face higher rates of bullying than cisgender youth, and then higher rates of emotional distress and substance use often follow those experiences,” says Dr. Eisenberg. “When health care providers do have the opportunity to see TGNC youth, asking about these issues and behaviors – and referring to appropriate follow-up care – is especially important.”

Read the full study, “Health and Health and Care Utilization of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth: A Population-Based Study.”