Prevalence of Discrimination and the Association Between Employment Discrimination and Health Care Access and Use - National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Among Transgender Women, Seven Urban Areas, United States, 2019-2020

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MMWR Supplements


Transgender women experience discrimination in many settings, including in employment. Because employment and health insurance are intertwined in the United States, employment discrimination might be related to lower health insurance coverage and health care use, including gender-affirming care. This analysis used data from transgender women (N = 1,608) in seven urban areas in the United States collected during 2019-2020 to present the prevalence of six discrimination types (employment, housing, bathroom, businesses, health care, and abuse) and to measure the association between employment discrimination (defined as trouble getting a job or fired due to being transgender) and sociodemographic characteristics, health care access, and health care use. Log-linked Poisson regression models were conducted to estimate adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% CIs. Seven in 10 transgender women experienced at least one type of discrimination during the past 12 months. During the same period, 9.9% of transgender women were fired and 32.4% had trouble getting a job because of being transgender. Employment discrimination was associated with younger age and lower socioeconomic status. Having trouble getting a job was associated with health care access and health care use factors, including having no health insurance or having Medicaid only, having an unmet medical need because of cost, never having transgender-specific care, and having an unmet need for gender-affirming procedures. These findings suggest that employment discrimination contributes to transgender women's economic marginalization and their ability to obtain adequate health insurance coverage and achieve their transition goals. These findings might help guide efforts that protect transgender women's right to pursue their work, health, and life goals without discrimination.

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