Researching the needs of transgender people
20 October 2016
University of Waikato psychology lecturer Dr Jaimie Veale is researching the inequities transgender people face in their health and wellbeing.
Dr Veale says acceptance of transgender people in New Zealand seems to be increasing, as reflected in the inclusion of transgender characters in television and film. But there’s been little research done in New Zealand to access the needs of this minority group.
“We know very little about the risk, health and resilience factors for transgender people in New Zealand,” says Dr Veale. “This is partly because many of our large health studies don’t ask about transgender identity.”
Dr Veale is working to change all that.
She’s starting research that looks at the physical and emotional health needs of transgender people and explores how these differ from the needs of the general population.
Her most recent study showed that a lack of mental and sexual health support for transgender people was linked to the level of discrimination they experienced.
“Those who reported experiences of discrimination, stigma, harassment and difficulties with accessing appropriate healthcare were more likely to report mental health difficulties,” she says.
Dr Veale wants to bring this issue to the attention of the general public, health professionals and policy makers to help improve transgender people’s health and wellbeing.
The research involves collaboration with the transgender community, health professionals, policy makers and other researchers in the fields of psychology, nursing, education and human geography.