Research on stigma, discrimination and violence towards transgender and non-binary (TNB) youth has proliferated in the recent years. With this research, inclusive and anti-bullying school policies have been developed and successfully implemented by some school districts, and additional research has demonstrated improvements in health outcomes of these youth. However, what is lacking in most of the research is how intersectionality plays a role in experiences of discrimination and violence and how these experiences in turn affect the health outcomes for youth who are not only TNB, but also Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC).
The 2019 Canadian Trans and Non-binary Youth Health Survey was an online survey conducted in English and French. Participants were 14-25 years old, and involved 1,518 youth from all provinces and territories across Canada. Out of the entire sample, 390 of youth were BIPOC. Among this subgroup of BIPOC youth, we conducted logistic regression analyses to explore the relationship between discrimination, such as discrimination based on race or physical appearance, and violence, such as verbal harassment, physical threats, or injuries, with self-rated physical health, self-rated mental health, self-harm, suicidality, and foregone medical and mental health care.
Compared to peers, TNB BIPOC youth who reported experiencing racism had significantly higher odds of rating their physical health as poor or fair (OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.1-2.2), foregone physical health care (OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.1-2.3), suicide ideation (OR: 1.7, 95% CI: 1.1-2.8), and suicide attempt(s) (OR: 2.6, 95% CI: 1.7-4.0) in the past year. Youth who reported physically being threatened or injured had significantly higher odds of rating their physical health as poor or fair (OR: 2.1, 95% CI: 1.7-2.7), their mental health as poor or fair (OR: 2.1, 95% CI: 1.1-4.4), forgone physical health services (OR: 3.0, 95% CI: 2.3-3.8), forgone mental health services (OR: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.8-3.3), self-harm (OR: 3.6, 95% CI: 2.7-4.8), suicide ideation (OR: 3.1, 95% CI: 2.3-4.2), and suicide attempt(s) (OR: 4.3, 95% CI: 3.2-5.8).
Experiences of discrimination and violence had significant negative relationships to physical health, mental health and access to health care services for TNB BIPOC youth in Canada. This further emphasizes that inclusive laws and anti-bullying policies need to be co-created with TNB BIPOC community members in order to decrease the experiences of discrimination and violence for trans and non-binary BIPOC youth. This is especially important given the health impacts these negative experiences appear to have on TNB BIPOC youth during critical and sensitive periods of their development.
Sources of Support
Grant #FDN154335 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
© 2022 Published by Elsevier Inc.