TRANSALUD: A qualitative study of the healthcare experiences of transgender people in Barcelona (Spain)

Kevin Santander-Morillas, Juan M. Leyva-Moral*, Marta Villar-Salgueiro, Mariela Aguayo-González, David Téllez-Velasco, Nina Granel-Giménez, Rebeca Gómez-Ibáñez

*Corresponding author for this work

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Transgender identities are still considered a psychiatric pathology in many countries according to the prevailing biomedical model. However, in recent years, this pathologizing vision has begun to shift towards a perspective that focuses on the diversity of transgender peoples' experiences. However, some transgender people still face denial of services, discrimination, harassment, and even violence by healthcare professionals, causing them to avoid seeking ongoing or preventive healthcare. This article describes the health experiences of transgender people in Barcelona regarding their access and use of non-specialized health services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using a descriptive phenomenological approach with sixteen transgender people between December 2018 and July 2019. The data were analyzed descriptively and thematically following the method proposed by Colaizzi with the help of the Atlas.ti8 software. Transgender people care experiences were divided into three categories: overcoming obstacles, training queries, and coping strategies. Participants identified negative experiences and difficulties with the health system due to healthcare providers' lack of competence. Discriminatory, authoritarian, and paternalist behaviors are still present and hinder the therapeutic relationship, care, and access to healthcare services. There is a fundamental need for the depathologization of transgender reality and training for healthcare professionals in the field of sexual diversity. Training in sexual and gender diversity must be included in the curricula of university courses in the health sciences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0271484
Number of pages15
JournalPloS one
Issue number8 August
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2022


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Spain
  • Transgender Persons/psychology
  • Transsexualism


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