Gender Minorities More Likely To Report Physical and Mental Health Challenges Interview with:

Carl G Streed Jr. M.D. Pronouns: he, him, his, himself Fellow, Division General Internal Medicine & Primary Care Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Dr. Streed

Carl G Streed Jr. M.D.
Pronouns: he, him, his, himself
Fellow, Division General Internal Medicine & Primary Care 
Brigham & Women’s Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has underscored the need to better understand the health of gender minorities, including transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. Prior investigations of gender minorities are limited by the lack of national gender identity data. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a gender identity question for the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS); states had the option to administer this module beginning 2014. Our study aims to examine the health status of gender minorities in the US compared to cisgender peers.

Compared to cisgender adults, gender minority adults are younger, less likely to be non-Hispanic white, married or living with a partner, have a minor child in the household, or be English speaking; but are more likely to have lower income, be unemployed, be uninsured, have unmet medical care due to cost, be overweight, and report depression.

Gender minority adults, compared to cisgender adults, are more likely to report: poor or fair health; difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; and being limited in any way. These outcomes remained significant after adjustment. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our outcomes take into consideration chronic health conditions in addition to socioeconomic demographics. This is unique as prior research has not been able to take into consideration so many variables. As such, the disparities experienced by gender minorities cannot be explained by current socioeconomic status or current health status. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It is critically important that all survey data, like the BRFSS, have questions to identify gender minorities within the population. Doing so will allow for more robust analyses and a better understanding of disparities unique to gender minorities. By identifying disparities, we can begin to address them.

Further, we need to begin to explore what could be account for these disparities in self-reported physical and mental health. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Research with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and communities must be a collaboration across disciplines and include those who are the subjects of inquiry; research with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, not on them. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Streed CG, McCarthy EP, Haas JS. Association Between Gender Minority Status and Self-Reported Physical and Mental Health in the United States. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 30, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.1460

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on June 5, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD