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Adult development and quality of life of transgender and gender nonconforming people

Bockting, Walter; Coleman, Eli; Deutsch, Madeline B.; Guillamon, Antonio; Meyer, Ilan; Meyer, Walter III; Reisner, Sari; Sevelius, Jae; Ettner, Randi

Current Opinion in Endocrinology & Diabetes and Obesity: April 2016 - Volume 23 - Issue 2 - p 188–197
doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000232
SEXUAL MEDICINE: Edited by Joshua D. Safer

Purpose of review Research on the health of transgender and gender nonconforming people has been limited with most of the work focusing on transition-related care and HIV. The present review summarizes research to date on the overall development and quality of life of transgender and gender nonconforming adults, and makes recommendations for future research.

Recent findings Pervasive stigma and discrimination attached to gender nonconformity affect the health of transgender people across the lifespan, particularly when it comes to mental health and well-being. Despite the related challenges, transgender and gender nonconforming people may develop resilience over time. Social support and affirmation of gender identity play herein a critical role. Although there is a growing awareness of diversity in gender identity and expression among this population, a comprehensive understanding of biopsychosocial development beyond the gender binary and beyond transition is lacking.

Summary Greater visibility of transgender people in society has revealed the need to understand and promote their health and quality of life broadly, including but not limited to gender dysphoria and HIV. This means addressing their needs in context of their families and communities, sexual and reproductive health, and successful aging. Research is needed to better understand what factors are associated with resilience and how it can be effectively promoted.

aDivision of Gender, Sexuality, and Health New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia Psychiatry and the School of Nursing, Columbia University Medical Center, New York

bProgram in Human Sexuality, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota

cSchool of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California

dDepartment of Psychobiology, National Distance Education University, Madrid, Spain

eThe Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, Los Angeles, California

fDivision of Psychiatry, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

gFenway Institute, Fenway Health

hDepartment of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

iDivision of General Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

jSchool of Medicine, University of California, San Fransisco, California

kPrivate Practice, Evanston, Illinois

Correspondence to Walter Bockting, Program for the Study of LGBT Health, Division of Gender, Sexuality and Health, New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia Psychiatry, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 15, New York, NY 10032, USA. Tel: +1 646 774 6953; e-mail:

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