Joe Mirabella

Report: Health Care Needs of LGBT People Unknown

Filed By Joe Mirabella | April 01, 2011 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: CDC, Haas Jr Fund, petitions

The Institutes of Medicine released a report on Thursday that demonstrates how desperately we healthcare.jpgneed researchers to include data about the LGBT community in their studies so we can have a better understanding of the health care needs of LGBT people.

Chris Geidner from Metro Weekly summarized the reports recommendations:

The report's recommendations issued are: (1) NIH should implement a research agenda designed to advance knowledge and understanding of LGBT health; (2) data on sexual orientation and gender identity should be collected in federally funded surveys administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and in other relevant federally funded surveys; (3) data on sexual orientation and gender identity should be collected in electronic health records; (4) NIH should support the development and standardization of sexual orientation and gender identity measures; (5) NIH should support methodological research that relates to LGBT health; and (6) a comprehensive research training approach should be created to strengthen LGBT health research at NIH; and (7) NIH should encourage grant applicants to address explicitly the inclusion or exclusion of sexual and gender minorities in their samples.

I am not surprised by the studies findings. During the Haas Jr. blogger and journalists meeting in San Francisco last March, we were briefed by several researchers who remarked how little data there is about our community. Specifically startling to me was the lack of data about the trans community.

Coincidentally, I started a petition on several days ago to urge the CDC to make a guideline change to include sexual orientation and gender identity in CDC funded studies. Please take a moment to sign it and share it with your friends.

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Joe I would sign the petition accept it uses that problematic word transgender. From what you posted from metro weekly they make no mention of the word instead opting to use the safer gender identity. If the petition had chosen to drop the use of the word transgender by using gender identity I would have signed it.Here is a copy of one of the best comments I've read against the use of the word transgender and I have the authors permission to repost it here.
Jillian Weiland (Jillie_Bean) wrote:

Oh my. I'm having a hard time believing what I'm reading, but nevertheless, it stares back at me. Where to begin...

Jane, you appear to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding definitions of sex and gender within the medical community. Sex refers to the human body and physical characteristics. Gender is within in the brain and is shown through gender expression. Gender expression can vary from culture to culture, but regardless, gender has nothing to do with physical sex characteristics. This is not something new or radical, and is consistent throughout scientific circles and medical sciences. So no, it is not fact (or even FACT) that the two are synonymous except perhaps in the minds of those who choose to ignore reality.

So let's take a look at definitions. I can buy that meanings of words change over time, because they obviously do. However, the term "transgender" used as a blanket adjective presents many inherent logical inconsistancies between what the term actually means and what many purport it to mean. You say that it is "fact" that transgender refers to anyone who does not conform to the "normal" idea of gender. By that I assume you refer to cultural gender norms. By that definition, who falls into the category?

I am a male to female transsexual who desires SRS, lives full time, and has been on HRT for over two years. Going by your definition, that would not be a typical thing for those of male birth sex to do, so I would be in that category. I have an aunt who was one of the first women to join our state patrol and reached the level of Captain. Not a typical way for a woman to follow the gender norms, so she would be transgender as well. I have friends who are gay males that enjoy doing drag shows. Again, going against what you call "normal idea of gender", so they are transgender, too. I have a friend who is a married heterosexual male with children who has a collection of Barbie dolls, which makes him transgender, as that aspect of his behaviour does not conform to the "normal" idea of gender. I know several heterosexual crossdressers for whom dressing is a fetish and sexually arousing to them. Not "normal" gendered behaviour for males once again, and so theywould be transgender.

The truth is that when used as a blanket adjective with the meaning you cited (which is consistent with most use of the word in the LGBT community), transgender fails to mean much of anything. It could reasonably be argued by that definition that virtually everyone who has ever lived has had aspects of themselves, personalities, clothes, likes, dislikes, etc that go against their cultural gender norms and expectations (which can be extremely arbitrary at times). The word defines people by what they don't do and what they are not, ie "not conforming to 'normal' gender roles, ignoring any other characteristics or aspects of the person or even the size and scope of the person's non conformity to their respective gender norms. Because of this, transgender becomes a poor choice of words, as it can refer to virtually anyone in an infinite set of circumstances, the only condition being aspects of gender non-conformity to the expectations of one's own culture. Phrases such as "transgender community" are laughable in their utter meaninglessness upon making this observation. So by this definition, yes, transsexuals are transgender, but so is perhaps 90% of the world's population, rendering the term utterly worthless and unsuited for use in any science related fields, and by extension, social theory.

If one chose to analyze the components of the words transgender and transsexual, ie root, prefixes, suffixs, etc, the aformentioned logical fallacy is seen it becomes clear that transsexual and transgender are mutually exclusive. Sex and gender, as I and the scientific community know, are not synonyms, and the paradox of a "transgender transsexual" should be clear to anyone with even a basic high school understanding of word structure in the English languge. However, if you want it spelled out for you, I would be more than happy to do so.

Finally, instead of crying foul on someone else's presentation of scientific evidence, why not post some evidence of your own to help prove the contrary?

Transsexuals are not, cannot and will not be transgender in the sense the NCTE and like organizations claim. What is going on here is an oversimplification of many diverse unrelated groups of people who have different needs which cannot and will not be met if they continue to be marginalized and mistakenly categorized together by political juggernauts who do not have the best interests of most of the people they claim to represent in mind. Pushing this umbrella term image of the word transgender is harmful to practically everyone under the umbrella, contradicts logic, confuses the hell out of most straight people, and is completly unnecessary.

and here is where the comment was originally posted.

What the Transsexuals I know want is to be a voice for themselves out from under and separate from those who identify as transgender. We're not saying that their needs aren't important but instead they should lobby for themselves and we should be allowed to lobby for ourselves. There is simply to much conflict of interest for an umbrella term to be reflective of the views and needs of all concerned.I would also point out that if one was to read the article that comment came from through the eyes of a transsexual that conflict would become much more apparent.