An unprecedented survey in Latin America found that two percent of the Brazilian population are transgender or non-binary. The study was developed by the Medical School of Botucatu of the São Paulo State University (UNESP). Six thousand people were heard in 129 municipalities across all regions of the country. In absolute terms, this number totals 3 million individuals.
Results point towards the urgency of health care policies directed at this public, the researchers reported. “A person who was born a woman but identifies with the male gender—a trans man—needs to see a gynecologist,” said Professor Maria Cristina Pereira Lima, from the Medical School of Botucatu. Professor Lima penned the article and points out that trans people’s life expectancy across the world is lower.
“We need to train gynecologists, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and all other health agents to be able to meet the needs of these people. If we don’t do that, this man will shun health services as he feels antagonized, and that’s a huge boost on mortality,” she stated.
The figures show that people who identify as transgender account for 0.69 percent, and non-binary 1.19 percent. The term transgender describes “people who identify with a gender not complying with, or different from, the gender assigned to them at birth,” UNESP explained. “Non-binary” refers to individuals who state that their gender falls outside masculine and feminine identities, or somewhere between the two.
According to Maria Cristina, the proportion found is similar to that in other countries carrying out population studies in this connection, like the US and the UK. The survey resorted to international parameters to reach the amount of 6 thousand people that should be interviewed. “We used the sampling resources with which pollster Datafolha works, to make it really representative of the country’s population,” the researcher reported.
Data analysis showed that the number of transgender and non-binary individuals was in accordance with the proportion of the population in each region of the country. The socio-demographic figures also showed there is no significant difference between the data collected in the capitals and country towns. “We did not expect the proportion to be the same. This means we have to develop actions to train health agents everywhere across the country,” she stressed.
Further action Maria Cristina noted, however, that, even though the study was conducted as medical research, the data are important to a number of scientific fields. “Other studies, with an anthropological or sociological approach, are required if we want to deepen our understanding on how to build a more inclusive society, cherishing the potential and people regardless of whether they are trans- or cisgender.”