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Spotlight on transgender health and wellbeing

Associate Professor, Sam Winter, School of Public Health, is one of the driving forces behind the publication of a historic first series of papers on transgender health and wellbeing in prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. He worked with Professor Kevan Wylie, University of Sheffield, on the series of papers and a Call to Action.

Many transgender people experience significant discrimination, exclusion, mental health issues, health problems, violence and stigma, issues which are examined in The Lancet’s seminal series.

Associate Professor Winter was first author on the paper ‘Transgender people: health at the margins of society’ and the Call to Action – ‘Synergies in health and human rights: a call to action to improve transgender health’.

Other papers in the series are ‘Serving transgender people: clinical care considerations and service delivery models in transgender health’ and ‘Global health burden and needs of transgender populations: a review’.

Associate Professor Sam Winter.
Associate Professor Sam Winter.

In a profile of Associate Professor Winter, which runs with the series, he recalls when he became aware of the health needs of transgender people.

“When working in Hong Kong I met a young person who had recently self-identified as a trans girl. She had been thrown out of the family home by her parents, and could not find a job because of her male ID card. She started to use drugs and developed mental health problems. I knew then that I had to change my life to do something to help. I saw the potential of being able to make a big difference in a new and specialised area,” he said.

Associate Professor Winter went on to research transgender health and teach gender and sexuality to students in Hong Kong for a number of years, and then moved to Perth. He now teaches courses in human sexuality, at undergraduate and masters levels, within the School of Public Health.

Associate Professor Winter told The Lancet that his courses attract a range of students from different disciplines, but he was especially interested in attracting law students to improve informed legal support for transgender people.

“We need more lawyers to study with us, in line with a key message from the series which is calling for improved legal grounding for transgender people,” he said.

The Lancet is running a special launch session for the series at the biennial symposium of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) in Amsterdam on 20 June 2016. Nine hundred participants are expected to attend the conference.

The Lancet series can be read here and an infographic about transgender health and wellbeing can be viewed here.