A unique study of transgender health in Massachusetts was conducted by Kerith Conron, an associate research scientist at the Institute of Urban Health Research of the Northeastern University. Conron observed social and economic inequities that warrant policy intervention.
American Journal of Public Health published the findings of the Massachusetts Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System which consists of a telephone survey of randomly selected adults who volunteer to answer particular questions about their health. The survey started with asking people if they considered and identified themselves as transgenders. The research was disturbing as Conron said, “My colleagues and I expected to find higher rates of unemployment and poverty and poorer health among transgender adults compared to non-transgender adults.” On the other hand, Conron came across the high rates of smoking among transgender adults and said that the tobacco prevention program should reach this section of the marginalised population with the cessation services made available to them.
Looking at the areas of inequalities and employment disparities among transgenders, there is an urgent need for anti-discrimination laws. These laws will not just provide an independent identity and respect, but also protect them. Deval Patrick (Massachusetts Gov.) signed this legislation into a law.
Though the research has reached only a snippet of the transgender population, who are considerably living in stable households, there still remains another part which experiences high rate of exposure to discrimination, violence, and various types of health problems. Hence, more research is needed on transgender health and studies that will elaborate on these findings. Like other marginalised groups, the public health institutions ought to collect data and administer the health of the transgender population. Though Massachusetts is one of the first states in the country to collect information on transgender health, Conron hopes that her initiative will bring awareness and encourage other states to take this initiative as well.