Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Transgender and Nonbinary Americans in Project AFFIRM

Walter Bockting; Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry and Nursing) at CUMC; Co-Director, LGBT Health Initiative Division of Gender, Sexuality

Transgender and Gender Nonbinary (TGNB) individuals may be uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to established physical and mental health disparities, the impacts of social distancing on an already marginalized population, and disruptions in gender-affirming healthcare delivery. Despite this, little is known about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on TGNB individuals. The proposed study would conduct mixed-methods research with an established multi-site longitudinal cohort of transgender adults (Project AFFIRM) to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related social distancing measures on this population. First, we conduct an online survey of Project AFFIRM participants (N = 349) about their experiences during this pandemic, including information about their physical and mental health. Next, we will conduct in-depth qualitative interviews with 36 AFFIRM participants to understand how the pandemic has impacted their lives and their health, including what coping mechanisms and support systems they find most helpful. These findings would inform intervention development during and after the pandemic to address the health needs of this vulnerable gender minority population.