How stigma affects healthcare access for transgender sex workers.

Published: November 27, 2014

Roche K, Keith C.
Original Article:


Stigmatisation of transgender sex workers (TSWs) has been recognised as contributing to illness and poorer health outcomes for this population. It could be argued that part of this stigma comes from nurses. With their frequent face-to-face interactions with their clients, nurses come from a unique place of power to influence the health outcomes and the feelings and thoughts that transgender sex workers have about the healthcare system in general, and whether or not they feel safe accessing it. Because there is very limited literature that explores stigmatisation of TSWs on the part of nurses, the needs of TSWs are scarcely being addressed. This article addresses why a higher proportion of transgender people participate in sex work compared with people in the general population; how stigmatisation by nurses affects access to healthcare resources for TSWs; why nurses experience stigmatising thoughts and beliefs; and how nurses can create a positive impact on TSW clients. The authors have found that, although there are a number of complex reasons for bias and stigma, it is extremely important for the health of these clients that nurses put empathy, sensitivity and compassion at the forefront of their practice.

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