Experienced barriers of care within European treatment seeking transgender individuals: A multicenter ENIGI follow-up study

Maeghan B. Ross, Tim C. van de Grift*, Els Elaut, Timo O. Nieder, Inga Becker-Hebly, Gunter Heylens, Baudewijntje P. C. Kreukels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate the experienced barriers of care for treatment-seeking trans individuals (TSTG) in three large European clinics. Methods: An online follow-up questionnaire was filled out by 307 TSTG individuals as part of the research protocol of the European Network for the Investigation of Gender Incongruence (ENIGI). Data was collected during follow-up in 2017/2018, around 5 years after participants had their initial clinical appointments in Ghent (Belgium), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), or Hamburg (Germany). Background characteristics, country, treatment characteristics and mental health were analyzed in relation to experienced barriers of care (EBOC, measured though agreement with statements). Results: The majority of participants reported various EBOC, oftentimes more than one. The most-frequently reported EBOCs pertained to the lack of family and friends’ support (28.7%, n = 88) and travel time and costs (27.7%, n = 85), whereas around one-fifth felt hindered by treatment protocols. Also, a significant share expressed the feeling that they had to convince their provider they needed care and/or express their wish in such way to increase their likelihood of receiving care. A higher number of EBOCs reported was associated with more mental health problems, lower income and female gender. Conclusions: A substantial number of TSTG individuals within three European health care systems experiences EBOCs. EBOCs relate to both personal and systemic characteristics. These findings can help health care providers and centers to improve care. More research must be done to better understand the diversity among TSTG individuals and the corresponding barriers experienced. Supplemental data for this article is available online at https://doi.org/10.1080/26895269.2021.1964409.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Transgender Health
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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