At the end of 2019 the International Journal of Transgenderism, a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal centered on transgender people and experiences, published a new piece from Campaign for Southern Equality staffers. The article captures the findings of the 2018 Southern Trans Health Focus Group Project, a community-based research project through which diverse transgender Southerners across six states shared in-depth accounts of their experiences related to health issues and accessing health care.
When The Report of the 2018 Southern Trans Health Focus Group Project was published in December 2018, Dr. Austin H. Johnson, Principal Investigator and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Kenyon College, said: “This project is the first of its kind to highlight the health care experiences of transgender Southerners, since research about transgender people is largely concentrated in northern and coastal urban centers. From cities to rural towns across the South, our research team spoke with trans and non-binary people who were eager to tell us about their experiences accessing health care and who were fired up about making change in their local communities. The stories we heard suggest that the change they seek is urgent, as many trans and non-binary people across the South find it difficult to access quality and consistent care for even their most basic health care needs. This report is a call to action.”
In the article in the International Journal of Transgenderism, Dr. Johnson – along with collaborators Ivy Hill, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Baker A. Rogers, and Andrew Bradford discuss the key findings from a series of focus groups held across Southern states.
“This study answers the call to address the understudied population of LGBTQ Southerners,” the authors write. “Specifically, this study uses semistructured focus group interviews to better understand the unique experiences of seeking and receiving healthcare as a trans and gender diverse person in the U.S. Southeast. … The focus group interviews revealed barriers to healthcare for trans and non-binary Southerners including: (1) patient fear and mistrust of providers; (2) inconsistency in treatment availability; (3) disrespect and insensitivity; and, (4) mistreatment as a result of intersecting social identities and circumstances. These themes reached consensus among focus group participants as common among trans and gender diverse Southerners.”