Transgender women of color: discrimination and depression symptoms

Journal article citation:
Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, 6(4), 2014, pp.121-136.

Purpose: Trans women of colour contend with multiple marginalisations; the purpose of this study is to examine associations between experiencing discriminatory (racist/transphobic) events and depression symptoms. It uses a categorical measure of combined discrimination, and examines a protective association of transgender identity on depression symptoms. Design/methodology/approach: Data from a subset of trans women of color participants in the Sheroes study were analysed with linear and logistic regression. Associations of depression symptoms with racist and transphobic events, combined discrimination, coping self-efficacy, and transgender identity were assessed with odds ratios. Findings: Exposure to discriminatory events and combined discrimination positively associated with depression symptom odds. Increased transgender identity associated with increased coping self-efficacy, which negatively associated with depression symptom odds. Research limitations/implications: Cross-sectional study data prohibits inferring causality; results support conducting longitudinal research on discrimination's health effects, and research on transgender identity. Results also support operationalising intersectionality in health research. The study's categorical approach to combined discrimination may be replicable in studies with hard to reach populations and small sample sizes. Practical implications: Health programmes could pursue psychosocial interventions and anti-discrimination campaigns. Interventions might advocate increasing participants’ coping self-efficacy while providing space to explore and develop social identity. Social implications: There is a need for policy and health programmes to centre trans women of color concerns. Originality/value: This study examines combined discrimination and identity in relation to depression symptoms among trans women of colour, an underserved population. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
transgender people, women, black and minority ethnic people, depression, mental health problems, discrimination, inequalities, needs, racism, health;
Content type:
United States
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