‘Socializing transgender’ social care and transgender people in Scotland: a review of statutory and voluntary services and other transgender experiences of social care support
A paucity of knowledge of social care services to transgender people in Scotland led to this research. Medical and social care services take very different approaches to the needs of migratory transgender people. The research design involved online questionnaires and interviews with statutory service commissioners and providers, and with voluntary organisations and transgender people themselves. A framework of three research questions underpinned the research, firstly looking at the nature of dedicated and generic support services in Scotland, secondly exploring assistance relating to transgender identity and status, and thirdly considering additional support to transgender people within their relationships and their communities. Data analysis was influenced by grounded theory in the development of themes and sub-themes which structured the research findings. The research findings indicate limited planning, guidance, training and policy development to facilitate access to generic services by transgender people. Dedicated service provision was found to be often limited to adults during transition whilst transgender children and young people, and family members including partners and parents, received limited support. A range of alternative sources of support, including transgender support groups, gender specialists, GPs, counsellors/psychiatrists and social care staff, were found to provide varying levels of support to transgender people with gender identity, transition, family support, documentation, transgender linked mental health problems and with long-term physical or other mental ill health issues. Approximately half of transgender respondents indicated that social work advice and support would be valued for each of the above categories, and that additional support would also be valued regarding making plans for the future, conflicts with family, friends, colleagues or neighbours, social isolation, social rejection, and with developing a more confident community presence. The thesis concludes with a proposal for a re-balancing of the historical systematic ‘medicalization’ of transgender, by a process of socializing transgender, through advocacy work seeking greater understanding and acceptance of transgender people and the adoption of a transgender legal status, and through the provision of the wide range of additional social care support to transgender people noted above, particularly during the socialization phase of transition and beyond.
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