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Transgender Persons

Transgender couple "Transgender" is an umbrella term used to describe gender identity, expression, and behavior that do not conform to socially ascribed gender norms for one’s biological sex at birth. Included within transgender are transsexuals, individuals who alter their bodies with hormones or surgery so that their gender identity and biological sex at birth match more closely. Others may choose not to alter their bodies and instead express gender in less permanent ways, including through clothing, hair, make up, pronoun usage, and other behaviors on a spectrum of gender expression. Still others choose not to alter their external appearance. Regardless, diverse transgender people are unified by the desire to be seen and treated in a way consistent with how they self-identify.

While the process of exploring sexual orientation usually accompanies the process of exploring gender, sexual orientation and gender identity are different. Sexual orientation refers to the sex of people someone is attracted to and has sexual interest in, while gender identity refers to a person's internal understanding of his or her own gender. Someone who is transgender may identify as heterosexual, bisexual, or gay or lesbian.

Transgender people have many of the same health concerns as non-transgender people. For instance, they should maintain a healthy diet and body weight, exercise, and receive regular medical care. Many other recommendations for health promoting behaviors, such as wearing a seatbelt, washing hands, and getting screened for diseases regularly, apply to all people, regardless of gender identity.

There is a relative lack of data on transgender people, but existing research, including in Wisconsin, suggests that transgender people have higher rates of adverse outcomes in substance abuse, HIV, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and violence. For example, when compared to their non-LGBT counterparts, LGBT people are twice as likely to binge drink, 6 times as likely to be afraid for their safety, and 7 times as likely to have felt depressed in the past 30 days. Finally, transgender people who choose to undergo sex reassignment may have further health concerns related to surgery and hormone therapy.

The following selection of resources is intended to increase awareness of health issues and disparities affecting transgender people. Use the left side navigation bar to learn more about any of the health concerns addressed below.

All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Department of Health Services does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages.

Hyperlinks marked with the State icon icon indicate Wisconsin resources.

GENERAL RESOURCES

Center of Excellence for Transgender Health
Description: Based at the University of California, San Francisco, this academic center focuses on  increasing access to comprehensive, effective, and affirming healthcare services for trans and gender-variant communities.
Resource availability: Internet

Health information for transgender people
Description:
General health information for transgender people, published by the CDC
Resource availability: Internet

Pediatric and Adolescent Transgender Health (PATH) ClinicState icon
Description:
The Pediatric and Adolescent Transgender Health (PATH) Clinic, located at UW Health / American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, provides clinical services and education about medical care options for gender-variant children and adolescents.
Resource availability: Internet

Transgender Aging NetworkState icon
Description:
Online support group and email news list hosted by FORGE
Resource availability: Milwaukee 

Transgender health care guidelines
Description:
Guidelines for mental and clinical healthcare for both female-to-male (FTM) and male-to-female (MTF) transgender people published by Healthcommunities.com
Resource availability:
Internet

See all General Resources

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

Alcohol addiction
Description:
Symptoms of alcohol addiction and statistics about alcohol use among LGBT people published by the Pride Institute
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Internet

Drug abuse
Description:
Symptoms of drug abuse and statistics about drug use among LGBT people published by the Pride Institute
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota and Fort Lauderdale, Florida 

Pride Institute
Description:
LGBT drug and alcohol addiction treatment center
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota and Fort Lauderdale, Florida

CANCER

National LGBT Cancer Network
Description:
Information on population specific cancer risks, optional electronic screening reminder Resource availability: Internet 

National LGBT Cancer Project
Description: National nonprofit LGBT organization providing cancer survivor support and advocacy services.
Resource availability: Internet

Out With Cancer
Description:
Cancer information and social network for LGBT persons diagnosed with cancer.
Resource availability: Internet

HIV/AIDS

AIDS NetworkState icon
Description:
Legal, life care, prevention, and support group information for people living with AIDS
Resource availability: South Central Wisconsin

AIDS Resource Center of WisconsinState icon
Description:
Medical center, social services, and prevention programs 
Resource availability:
Wisconsin

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Description:
Fact sheet and additional information regarding HIV infection in transgender communities.
Resource availability:
Internet

Wisconsin HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Information and Referral CenterState icon
Description:
Fact sheets, testing referrals, and external links
Resource availability:
Internet

MENTAL HEALTH

Anxiety disorders in LGBT populations
Description:
Information on anxiety disorders in LGBT populations published by the Pride Institute
Resource availability:
Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Internet 

Depression in LGBT populations
Description:
Information on depression in LGBT populations published by the Pride Institute
Resource availability: Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Internet

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Description: A 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
Resource availability: Internet and toll-free hotline: 1-800-273-TALK [8255] 

SEXUAL HEALTH

General STD information
Description:
The CDC's webpage about STDs, including a testing site locator, statistics, and treatment guidelines
Resource availability:
Internet

Wisconsin HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Information and Referral CenterState icon
Description:
Information and service finder for STD diagnosis and treatment
Resource availability:
Wisconsin

TOBACCO

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- Tips from Former Smokers
Description:
Real stories of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people who are suffering from smoking-related diseases and disabilities.
Resource availability:
Internet

National LGBT Tobacco Control Network
Description:
Quit strategies and resources, outreach information, statistics, and scientific literature
Resource availability:
Internet 

rm2BreatheState icon
Description:
Statewide anti-tobacco program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, coordinated by Diverse and Resilient
Resource availability: Wisconsin 

VIOLENCE/SAFETY

AARDVARC (An Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection)
Description: Information on domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships, including state laws and how to recognizing and reacting to abuse and locate resources
Resource availability: Internet 

Anti-Violence ProjectState icon
Description:
Victim advocacy, community outreach, and service provider education program at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
Resource availability:
Milwaukee

Northwest Network
Description: LGBT information and support regarding abuse and violence (based in Seattle, WA)
Resource availability: Internet 

Transgender Sexual Violence Project DescriptionState icon
Description:
Resources, including information, support groups, and a listserv, for transgender individuals and others who are not served by other sexual violence response systems; hosted by FORGE
Resource availability: Milwaukee, Internet

StopBullying.gov
Description: Information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.
Resource availability: Internet

(Photograph on this page courtesy of Diverse and Resilient.) 

Gay & Bisexual Men

Lesbian & Bisexual Women

Transgender Persons

LGBT Youth LGBT Older Persons Educators Service Providers

Last Revised: July 28, 2014