Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Womens Studies

Major Professor

Michelle Hughes Miller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Rubin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ambar Basu, Ph.D.


gender identity, medical care, barriers, LGBT, cultural competency


Trans* studies and issues have recently increased in coverage by the media and popular press. With recent changes in the DSM-5 (APA, 2000; APA 2013) and insurance law (HHS, 2014), trans* healthcare has been under increasing scrutiny. While a small number of studies (Bradford, Reisener, Honnold, & Xavier, 2013; Grant et al., 2011; Rounds, McGrath, & Walsh, 2013; Tanner et al., 2014) have documented discrimination and lack of cultural competencies from the perspective of trans* patients, little research exists that examines the training, support, and decision-making processes of medical professionals who treat trans* patients (Snelgrove et al., 2012, p. 2). The goal of this research study is to explore the training and cultural competencies of healthcare professionals in treating trans* patients by surveying and interviewing healthcare professionals about their experiences of trainings, familiarity with practices/protocols, and attitudes toward treating trans* patients. A survey of 35 health care professionals and nine interviews were conducted. These health care professionals, while generally accepting of trans* individuals, still had some reservations about working with trans* patients and suggested that there were many barriers and challenges to providing trans* health care. A majority of health care professionals had little or no familiarity with treatment protocols or diagnoses for trans* patients, and very few had received any type of training (formal or informal) before or after starting working in the health care about trans* patients. While there are many areas in which there perceived challenges and barriers to care, several participants did observe that there has been a shift in health care recently that is moving towards being more inclusive and responsive to trans* patients.