Transgender stigma and health: A critical review of stigma determinants, mechanisms, and interventions

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15/12/2015 12:00 am

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Social Science &
Volume 147, December 2015, Pages 222–231. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.11.010


  • Stigma contributes to widespread health inequities in US transgender communities.
  • We review the multiple levels at which stigma towards transgender people operates.
  • The stress mechanisms through which stigma contributes to health are discussed.
  • Intervention strategies to reduce transgender stigma are outlined at each level.
  • Multi-level interventions are needed to reduce transgender stigma in the US.


Transgender people in the United States experience widespread prejudice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of


This critical review aims to integrate the literature on stigma towards transgender people in the US.


This review demonstrates that transgender stigma limits opportunities and access to resources in a number of critical
domains (e.g., employment, healthcare), persistently affecting the physical and mental health of transgender people. The
applied social ecological model employed here elucidates that transgender stigma operates at multiple levels (i.e.,
individual, interpersonal, structural) to impact health. Stigma prevention and coping interventions hold promise for
reducing stigma and its adverse health-related effects in transgender populations.


Additional research is needed to document the causal relationship between stigma and adverse health as well as the
mediators and moderators of stigma in US transgender populations. Multi-level interventions to prevent stigma towards
transgender people are warranted.


  • Transgender;
  • Stigma;
  • Health;
  • Inequities;
  • Interventions

Author: Jaclyn M. White Hughto; Sari L. Reisner; John E. Pachankis

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