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Ensuring trans people in Wales receive dignified and inclusive health and social care in later life

Members of the TrAc project team

Press release issued: 4 April 2019

Findings from a two-year study looking at health care provision for trans people later in life, will be announced at a launch event in Cardiff today (Thurs 4 April).

Very little is known about trans people’s health and social care needs in later life or the issues associated with trans ageing. The TrAC project, funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, aims to better understand what the health and social care needs are of trans adults (50+ years of age) and to examine whether current health and social care service providers and professionals are meeting those needs in Wales.

The study, led by the Centre for Innovative Ageing at Swansea University, in collaboration with academics from the School for Policy Studies, set out to identify:

1. The health and social care needs of trans people aged 50+ and their hopes, expectations and concerns about service provision in older age

2. Attitudes and perceptions of health and social care professionals towards older trans people

It is hoped that findings from the research will help to provide new evidence to raise awareness about gender identity and ageing for health and social care professionals across Wales.

In accordance with the priorities of the Welsh Strategy for Older People (Welsh Government, 2013) the evidence will help ensure that older trans adults ‘do not experience multiple discrimination’ by identifying barriers, assumptions and actions in health and social care services which reinforce transphobic attitudes and service environments, and prevent older trans people from receiving equal, dignified and person-centred care.

The report, written with Policy Bristol, makes five recommendations, including better training and education for health and social care professionals as well as agreeing a benchmark on the level of support individuals can expect.

Project lead, Dr Paul Willis, commented, ‘The findings highlight the many obstacles and setbacks trans older people experience in seeking to navigate their way through the current system of gender identity treatment in Wales and England. It also highlights their perseverance and courage in pushing forward on this journey, despite their worries about running out of time or experiencing misgendering and transphobic responses along the way. Our recommendations speak to the importance of creating more trans-aware and inclusive health and social care services in Wales’.

A further aim of the project was to produce a series of digital stories to act as guidelines for health and social care practitioners in supporting older trans people in later life. The #GrowingOlderAsMe series is a group of films, produced by My Genderation, which follows contributors from the Trans Ageing and Care Project in Wales.

View the project overview film:

You can also follow Cat, Dave, Annabelle and Fran’s individual stories on the TrAC project website which provide a unique insight into their lives.

Further information

Stonewall estimates that around 1% of the population identify as trans, including people identifying as nonbinary, though there are no accurate estimates of the number of trans people in the UK. The recent UK survey of over 108,000 LGB&T respondents commissioned by the UK Government (2018) indicates that trans respondents (13% of the sample) report lower life satisfaction scores than the general population.

The project was delivered in collaboration with Unique Transgender Network and the Older LGBT Network for Wales, Age Cymru. 

Read more about the project and Cat Burton’s story on the BBC website.

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