We understand our gender best: gender diverse young people and their experiences with general practitioners
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2017 Madeleine Paulson
Gender diverse young people are a marginalised population with specific health care needs. Studies suggest that these needs are not being met by their general practitioners (GPs), but existing research focuses on gender diverse adults or non-Australian populations. The experiences of Australian gender diverse young people with GPs have not been studied in depth. Thirty-seven young gender diverse people shared their experiences with GPs. Many had negative experiences with GPs, with a majority of non-binary people having had mostly negative experiences. Participants’ experiences were positively impacted by GPs showing respect for gender diverse people, GPs being knowledgeable about gender diversity, a positive and friendly attitude from GPs, a welcoming clinic environment in which gender diverse patients were called by their chosen names, and GPs treating gender diverse patients like autonomous individuals. Negative experiences were characterised by GPs being uninformed or misinformed about gender diversity, GPs being insulting or demeaning, clinics requiring that patients be known by their birth names and assigned genders, GPs and staff misgendering gender diverse patients, and GPs attributing gender diversity to mental illness or vice versa. This study was conducted through an online survey, asking open-ended questions which provided answers suitable for qualitative analysis. Answers were analysed through thematic analysis, using a framework based on that of phenomenology. The recommendations put forth are that GPs must be educated on gender diversity; paperwork and computer systems should be able to accept input of genders other than male and female; GPs should respect gender diverse patients as individuals who know themselves; clinic waiting rooms should be welcoming and staff educated about gender diversity; GPs should not assume that gender diversity causes or is caused by mental illness; and GPs should believe, listen to, and respect the input of gender diverse patients. Further study on this topic could focus on the experiences of gender diverse Indigenous people, people born outside of Australia, or people living in regional areas; or on the experience of gender diverse people with other healthcare practitioners.
Keywordsgender diverse; transgender; youth; adolescent; transphobia; general practice
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