Transgender people often suffer transphobia in healthcare contexts, even though professionals usually don’t identify their behavior as transphobic. Professionals generally agree that transcompetent care must be a priority in these contexts, but we usually do not count with clear guidelines to implement it.

Transphobia is a fear or stereotyping of transgender or other gender non-traditional individuals because of their perceived gender identity, expression or status (GLSEN, 2002). We may incur in transphobic behavior even without acknowledging it. For this reason, education of all healthcare and frontline staff on standards of respect towards transgender people is highly recommended.

During the first year of the SWITCH project, we run a series of short interviews with physicians and nurses to explore their knowledge and questions about transgender people and how to best assist them in clinical settings. We then contacted transgender people through the NGO Trans*parent and the National Institute of mental health Czech Republic (NUDZ), who provided answers to these questions and recommendations. The most relevant messages obtained from this dialogue between professionals and users of the healthcare system were:

  • Ask the person what are their preferred name and corresponding pronouns.
  • Ask about the medical needs of the person and what are their expectations.
  • Respect: not only tolerate but respect gender variance and expression.
  • Believe: all identities are valid.
  • Support: create safe spaces, communicate, befriend.
  • Protect: protect trans persons and encourage respect for them, even in their absence.

For more detailed information, access our Booklet.