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Kristina Olson’s Trans Youth Project is cited in this Bustle article about Canadian transgender teenagers avoiding health care.

lmost Half Of Canadian Transgender Youth Avoid The Doctor Because They’re Not Comfortable Talking About Their Health Needs, According To A New Survey


Most folks don’t particularly like going to the doctor’s office. After all, if you’re scheduling an appointment (other than your annual physical), there’s a high likelihood that you don’t feel well. Then, you have to wait in a stuffy waiting room with other people who don't feel well and fill out 18 forms that ask you the same question in different ways. The inconvenience of going to the doctor may be one of the reasons why folks are going to the doctor less frequently . But transgender youth in particular aren’t accessing health care at high rates, and it’s not because they don’t feel like filling out forms. According to a new study, about half of Canadian youth avoid the doctor because they're not comfortable talking about their health needs: many cite negative experiences with doctors in the past, or fear that their doctor will not know how to treat them.

The study, which was published in Family Practice , found that nearly half of Canadian trans youth aren’t going to the doctor when they need to. The numbers were even more startling for the younger (ages 14-18) study participants. Sixty-eight percent of those between 14 and 18 reported not seeking needed mental health care in the last year, and 34 percent didn’t seek needed professional medical care for physical ailments. For study participants who were between 19 and 25, 47 percent reported forgoing needed mental health care, physical health care, and regularly scheduled check ups.

"Many transgender youth have experienced uncomfortable and frustrating encounters with doctors, particularly when a doctor isn't well informed about transgender health," said lead author of the study Beth Clark, a PhD candidate in interdisciplinary studies, in a press release . "An encouraging finding was that young people who were more comfortable discussing trans health-care needs with their family doctors reported higher levels of mental health and health overall."

More in-depth studies regarding trans youth in America are in their early stages. A longitudinal study (TYP) that focuses on American transgender youth is currently recruiting participants. Researchers at the University of Washington will examine early gender development, mental health, and well-being, and the impact of early life experiences on later life outcomes in our participants on trans youth between ages 3 and 12.

Read more here .