May 2020

Stakeholder perceptions and experiences regarding access to contraception and abortion for transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive individuals assigned female at birth in the United States.

Fix L, Durden M, Obedin- Maliver J, Moseson H, Hastings J, Stoeffler A, Baum S. Stakeholder perceptions and experiences regarding access to contraception and abortion for transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive individuals assigned female at birth in the United States. Archives of Sexual Behavior. May 2020. DOI 10.1007/s10508-020-01707-w

Abstract: Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care often excludes the needs and experiences of transgender, non-binary, and gender- expansive (TGE) individuals. This study aimed to collect diverse stakeholder perspectives on barriers and facilitators to contraception and abortion for TGE individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB), assess knowledge and attitudes about unintended pregnancy prevention in these populations, and identify recommendations for improving SRH services for people of all genders. Between October 2017 and January 2018, we conducted 27 in-depth interviews with SRH stakeholders, including TGE individuals who had obtained contraception or abortion care, and 22 clinicians, researchers, and advocates experienced in transgender health care. We iteratively developed a codebook and conducted thematic analysis to capture the spectrum of perspectives across interviews. Stakeholders reported a range of barriers to contraception and abortion access for TGE people AFAB, including inability to afford services, lack of gender-affirming clinicians, difficulty obtaining insurance coverage, and misconceptions about fertility and unplanned pregnancy risk. Deterrents to care-seeking included gendered health care environments, misgendering, and discrimination. Stakeholders described provider knowledge gaps and a perceived lack of medical education relevant to the SRH needs of TGE people. Recommendations included using gender-inclusive language and gender-affirming patient education materials and improving provider training on gender-affirming SRH care. Stakeholders identified substantial barriers to high-quality contraception and abortion care for TGE AFAB people in the United States. They recommended specific interventions at the provider and institutional levels to improve experiences with care for TGE people and ensure broader access to gender-affirming SRH services.