In response to increasing attacks on transgender communities in the United States, the Hawai‘i Department of Health recently released its “Statement on Transgender Rights and Public Health.”
In alignment with the departmentʻs mission, the statement denounces discrimination, including transphobia and transphobic action, which is recognized as a threat to public health.
According to local health reports, transgender and gender-diverse communities in Hawaiʻi experience several health disparities, compared to cisgender people. These issues include access to healthcare, bullying, interpersonal violence, depression, suicidality and substance use, all of which are causes for significant public health concern.
“We support our gender-diverse community in Hawaiʻi,” said Dr. Diana Felton, chief of the Communicable Disease and Public Health Nursing Branch, in a press release. “We also acknowledge the resilience and strength of gender-diverse people in the face of discrimination and honor the valued role of gender-diverse people in traditional Hawaiian culture.”
Director Kenneth Fink said: “The Department of Health believes that all people of Hawaiʻi should have an equitable opportunity to achieve their optimal state of health and well-being. This includes our māhūwahine, māhūkāne, transgender, gender-diverse people, and other communities experiencing discrimination.”
Hawai‘i Department of Health staff will also participate in the Honolulu Pride parade and festival in October to support the LGBT community and promote public health.
For local health resources, visit: https://health.hawaii.gov/harmreduction/sexual-gender-minority/sexual-and-gender-minorities-sgm-in-hawaii/