Weekly peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet has today launched a new series on trans healthcare. The series is led by Sam Winter and Kevan Wylie, who have backgrounds in psychology, psychiatry and sexology, and several other researchers.
While the series recognizes its limits in representing the heterogeneity of the global trans community, it has made considerable effort in its approach to a global enquiry.
In addition to written papers, a number of “participatory population perspectives” conducted with trans people seeks to highlight the “situated vulnerabilities” of the community. These include the discrimination, medical and mental health risks that persist despite positive legislations.
Some trans participants have noted how pro-trans policies will prioritize sexual health over primary health, and the lack of economic opportunities remains as a huge obstacle. As Jana Villayzan says that “70% of transgender women in Peru depend on sex work for economic survival,” and though the statistics might fluctuate, this dependence will hold true for trans women in both high and low-income countries.
Furthermore, the series reports more than half of the 25 million trans people in the world suffer from depression. While mental health issues have their biological causes, systemic discrimination against trans members of society poses equal risks to their mental well-being. In South Africa, trans women affected by violence account for an unforgivably high 85%. Media attention towards “hate motivated homicides” in the United States, and more recently in Pakistan is only just beginning to uncover the reality of many trans people.
But the series also identifies a number of trans-led organizations that are actively making a difference in the world, and includes individual accounts in its “perspectives” section:
The Lancet series “is an effort to understand, and provide a framework to improve, the health and lives of transgender people globally.” It is hoped that its findings, explorations and recommendations will not only inform, but impel everyone from policy makers to medical practitioners, to institute the necessary changes in favour of trans health care.