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The Transgender Health Research Lab

Kia ora! Welcome to the Transgender Health Research Lab. We are part of the School of Psychology / Te Kura Whatu Oho Mauri at the University of Waikato / Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato. We are located in Kirikiriroa / Hamilton, Aotearoa / New Zealand,  where Waikato Tainui are tangata whenua (the people who hold customary authority of the land).

We study health and wellbeing inequities faced by transgender people. Our research focuses on the social determinants of these health outcomes, including experiences of discrimination, violence, harassment and barriers to accessing appropriate healthcare, as well as how social and community support, self determination and gender affirmation can be positive, protective factors. We work closely with transgender community leaders, health professionals and policy makers to make sure that our research is relevant to these stakeholders.

Current Projects

Counting Ourselves: The Aotearoa New Zealand Trans and Non-Binary Health Survey

Counting Ourselves is an anonymous health survey designed by and for trans and non-binary people. We collected data from the second wave of the Counting Ourselves survey in 2022, and are preparing to analyse the data in 2023.

We worked with a diverse community advisory group to design the questions, and we also collaborated with other academics, health professionals, community organisations and policymakers with an interest in the wellbeing of trans and non-binary people.

We did this research to collect information that could help to improve the lives of trans and non-binary people by looking at:

  • how well trans and non-binary people are doing in their mental health and physical health compared to the general population
  • their experiences of stigma, discrimination, and violence
  • their experiences in doctors’ clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare settings, when accessing general healthcare or gender-affirming healthcare such as hormones or surgeries
  • the way in which the experience of being trans or non-binary intersects with other parts of identity, like ethnicity or disability
  • how support from their friends, family, whānau, or others might protect against the negative impacts of stigma, discrimination and violence that many trans and non-binary people face.

The original Counting Ourselves was the first comprehensive national survey of the health and wellbeing of trans and non-binary people living in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Data collection for the first Counting Ourselves survey finished in 2018, our community report was published in September 2019, and we have continued to give presentations and publish more in-depth articles so that the findings are widely shared since then. This research provides the evidence base needed to change health policies, increase funding, and support community initiatives that will improve the health and wellbeing of trans and non-binary people in Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2021, the findings of Counting Ourselves were cited by the Prime Minister in the announcement of more funding for mental health services for Rainbow young people.

Join Our Team

We are always keen to hear from potential collaborators who are interested in being involved in our current projects or working with us on new research projects.

We have openings for voluntary and sometimes paid research assistant positions, and Jaimie may be available for Honours, Master's, and PhD supervision on research into transgender people’s health and wellbeing, or topics related to this field.

While our lab is based in the School of Psychology / Te Kura Whatu Oho Mauri, we are a multidisciplinary lab with students and other lab team members who come from a range of disciplines. Some of our lab team members are not based in Kirikiriroa / Hamilton, so we are open to hearing from people who are interested in distance learning or experience, or collaborating with us for part of our project. If you are interested in joining the Trans Health Research Lab team, contact Jaimie directly.