Medical Practitioners’ Knowledge about and Attitude towards Transgenders in India

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.05.04.Art013

Authors : Pethuru Devadason


Transgender is an umbrella term that refers to people with diverse gender identities and expressions that differ from stereotypical gender norms. Medical practitioners’ attitude towards Transgenders affects health care offered to such patients who experience health and health care disparities and have specific health care needs. There is sparse of literature that explores the knowledge and attitudes of health care providers towards Transgenders.

Objectives: This study was carried out with the following two objectives: 1) to assess the Indian Medical Practitioners’ knowledge about and attitude towards Transgenders. 2) To find out the current exposure and self-efficiency of Medical practitioners on treating transgender persons in their clinical set up and to identify the significant factors associated with them.

Methodology: This is a web based cross sectional study carried out among the Medical Practitioners of Allopathic medical system, all over India to assess their knowledge about and attitude towards Transgenders through an online survey questionnaire. The questionnaire collected the basic socio demographic details and clinical practice details of the participants. It also contained set of questions to assess their knowledge, attitude, current exposure of treating transgender individuals and their comfort level (self- efficiency) on treating them.

Results: There were 128 Medical practitioners who completed the online survey questionnaire within one month duration of the study period. Two third of the respondents are residing in urban area (81 -63.3%) and two third of them (68 - 67.2%) are working in tertiary care centre setups. Only 27 (21.1%) respondents know any transgender personally and only 22 (17.2%) respondents have treated any transgender so far. The average number of transgender individuals treated by these 22 respondents in the past year and past 1 month is only 4.18 and 0.91 respectively. While 95 (74.5%) participants correctly responded that the transgenderism due to biological causes, 64 (50.0%) participants correctly responded that the transgenderism is due to psychosocial causes. Years of experience is the only statistically significant factor affecting the participants’ general knowledge on transgenders and having provided treatment to any transgender individual.

Conclusion: 1) The study participants have very good positive attitudes towards transgender individuals while there is a gap in their knowledge on Transgenders. 2) Only 21.1% respondents know any transgender individual personally and only 17.2% respondents have treated any transgender individuals. 3) Years of experience is the statistically significant factor associated with having general knowledge on Transgenders and having provided treatment to any transgender individual. 4) The confidence on clinical skills and comfort level of treating the transgender individual are less in the study population and which can be improved by continuing medical educations.
Keywords: Transgenders, Knowledge and Attitude, Medical Practitioners, India, KAP on Transgenders. 


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