Purpose: This first U.S.-based, descriptive study of transgender Deaf adults looks to contribute to the gap in research regarding those who lie at the intersection of Deaf and transgender identities. The study objective is to identify characteristics that associate with medical conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders, among Deaf transgender adults.
Methods: We gathered self-reported data from 74 Deaf transgender adults who used American Sign Language. Modified Poisson regression with robust standard errors was used to calculate relative risk estimates of having a medical condition among nonbinary individuals compared with gender binary individuals.
Results: The sample lifetime prevalence for medical conditions in the Deaf transgender sample were as follows: 48.6% for depression/anxiety disorders, 28.8% for hypertension, 20.3% for lung conditions, 16.2% for arthritis/rheumatism, 12.3% for diabetes, 7.0% for cirrhosis/liver/kidney problems, 5.5% for heart conditions, and 2.7% for cancer. In cross-tabulation analysis across binary and nonbinary subsamples, the lifetime prevalence was significantly different only for depression and anxiety disorder with higher percentage in the nonbinary subsample. After adjusting for covariates in a regression model, identification as nonbinary increased a Deaf person's risk for being diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder by 80% (95% confidence interval, 1.11–2.90) relative to Deaf people who self-identified as a binary gender.
Conclusion: Study findings suggest that the Deaf transgender community is at risk for developing mental and physical health conditions.