LGBT Health: Transgender Persons

Two adults taking a selfie with a rainbow flag

"Transgender" is a term that describes gender identity, gender expression, and behavior that does not conform with socially ascribed gender norms for one's biological sex at birth. Some people might alter their bodies with hormones or surgery so that their gender identity and biological sex at birth match more closely. Others may express gender in less permanent ways, including through clothing, hair, makeup, pronoun usage, and other gender expression behaviors. Still others choose not to alter their external appearance. Regardless, transgender people are unified by the desire to be seen and treated in a way consistent with how they self-identify.

Transgender people have many of the same health concerns as non-transgender people. There is a relative lack of data on transgender people but existing research suggests that transgender people have higher rates of adverse outcomes in substance abuse, HIV, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and violence.

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.

The following selection of resources is intended to increase awareness of health issues and disparities affecting transgender people.
Hyperlinks marked State icon in the content below are 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
General health information for transgender people, published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (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

See all General Resources

Alcohol And Drugs

Substance Use and SUDs in LGBT Populations  
Description: Overview of general research findings regarding substance use among LGBT people.
Resource availability: Internet

National Helpline - 1-800-662-4357
Description: Free, confidential 24/7, 365-day-a-year, treatment and referral information service (in English and Spanish) regarding mental and/or substance disorders.
Resource availability: Internet 


National LGBT Cancer Network
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


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

CDC Fact Sheet 
Fact sheet and additional information regarding HIV infection in transgender communities.
Resource availability: Internet

Description: Federal government website regarding the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and support of health and support services for persons living with HIV.
Resource availability: Internet

Wisconsin HIV Program 

Description: Wisconsin HIV statistics and information resources regarding prevention and care services in Wisconsin. 
Resource availability: Internet

Mental Health

DHS Suicide Prevention webpage
Description:  Information and resources about suicide prevention in Wisconsin.
Resource availability: Internet 

LGBTQ Crisis Line
Description: Trained counselors from the Trevor Project offer support 24/7.
Resource availability: Internet and toll-free hotline: 1-866-488-7386

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

DHS Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) webpage
Description: General information and resources regarding STDs in Wisconsin
Resource availability: Internet

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

Safer Sex for Trans Bodies
Description: Comprehensive transgender sexual health guide from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Whitman-Walker Health.
Resource availability: Internet


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

Truth Initiative
Description: Fact sheet on tobacco use in LGBT communities. 
Resource availability: Internet


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
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.)

Last Revised: October 29, 2019