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The aging population: imperative to uncouple sex and gender to establish "gender equal" health care

Gloria A Bachmann, Brianna Mussman
Maturitas 2015, 80 (4): 421-5
25771042

AIM: The transgender community has long been marginalized in society. As the world's population ages, gender-unbiased health services for this growing population, with age-related chronic illnesses, will be essential. To optimally eliminate hurdles that trans individuals often confront when requesting services, it appears judicious to eliminate the strict and antiquated definition of what constitutes "normal" female and "normal" male.

METHODS: A review of literature on transgender medicine on PubMed over the last five years was conducted.

RESULTS: Existing statistics indicate that unacceptable bias and discrimination are occurring, making trans patients less likely to seek care. There are emerging initiatives that address the transgender and gender non-conforming population. Ongoing needs include defining what constitutes "gender equal," understanding the continuum of gender identity, and establishing and implementing guidelines for gender equal counseling and care.

CONCLUSIONS: With the routine practice of defining sex at birth and equating sex with gender in the health care setting, the transgender patient encounters multiple barriers to accessing and acquiring health care services. These strict gender labels appear to preclude the institution of gender equal care. Care templates on gender equal patient encounters should be implemented to better address transgender health needs in a non-biased manner.

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