Asheville, North Carolina – The Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) and Western North Carolina Community Health Services (WNCCHS) have published a report on transgender health in the South. “The Report of the 2018 Southern Trans Health Focus Group Project” (available at documents the findings of a community-based research project through which diverse transgender Southerners across six states shared accounts of their experiences related to health issues and accessing health care.

Upwards of 500,000 transgender people live in the South. Nationally, data shows that approximately 25 percent of this group do not seek health care at all because of a fear of discrimination. “From cities to rural towns across the South, our research team spoke with trans and non-binary people who were eager to tell us about their experiences accessing health care and who were fired up about making change in their local communities,” say the study’s sponsors. “The stories we heard suggest that the change they seek is urgent.”

“This report is a call to action,” said Dr. Austin H. Johnson, principal investigator for the Southern Trans Health Focus Group Project and sociologist at Kenyon College.

Key findings of the research include:

• Many transgender Southerners report experiencing barriers in accessing basic services and being treated with respect and dignity. Factors including race, age, and living in a rural community increase the likelihood that transgender Southerners will experience hostility or other significant barriers.

• When transgender Southerners report having access to strong networks of peer support, they feel empowered to seek health care.

• The report also includes recommended practices for Southern health care providers seeking to offer transgender-friendly services, from the design of intake paperwork to clinical practices during exams. CSE will host a free webinar to share the findings on January 30th at 6 pm. Registration information is available at (Q Notes Online – Lainey Millen at

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