The Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Trans People Need to Know
MARCH 13, 2020
COVID-19, also referred to as novel coronavirus, is a new virus, and there is still much to learn about the severity of this outbreak. However, we know that transgender people and their families may have a lot of questions about how they can properly face this public health threat.
We want trans people and their families to stay safe—both from the virus and from any unique problems we may face with this new virus.
It is important for trans people to be prepared for obstacles if an outbreak happens in their communities. NCTE urges everyone to put together a plan of action that not only takes into account basic health needs, but also your specific needs as a trans person.
Trans People and COVID-19
Transgender people must be aware of the particular risk for the coronavirus because of the several factors:
- LGBTQ people have higher rates of HIV and cancer, and therefore may have a compromised immune system. According to NCTE’s 2015 US Trans Survey, trans people are five times more likely to be living with HIV compared to the general population.
- LGBTQ people also use tobacco at a rate of 50% higher than the general population. The coronavirus is a respiratory illness that could be especially harmful to smokers.
Trans adults are also more likely to score their health as poor or fair compare to the general population. More than 1 out 5 transgender adults have at least one or more chronic condition, such as diabetes, arthritis, or asthma. Fear of discrimination keeps many of us from going to the doctor. This may impact the potential novel coronavirus effect on us in three ways:
- Stigma and discrimination makes transgender people reluctant to get help.
- Access to health care barriers, such as lack of insurance, leaves us less likely to get medical care.
- Existing health conditions mean more of us live in a state of compromised health.