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Healthcare Challenges Experienced by Transgender Detainees in US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Detention Centers

Gloria Magallanes


This study contributes to a greater understanding of the impacts that federal and state policies have on the access that transgender detainees in Immigration Detention Centers in the United States have to hormone therapy and other forms of healthcare. This is done through a systematic literature review; findings for this work were sourced from legal databases and JSTOR. Key terms used include immigra*, migra*, transgender, healthcare and detention. Results show that detainees are not protected by the same practices and procedures that exist for other incarcerated groups (i.e. those in federal prisons and state jails). These practices include but are not limited to access to legal counsel, hormone access at early stages of transition, and specific policy interventions. The care not afforded to those in immigration detention centers reflect the marginalization and othering of immigrants and transgender identifying people in US society. A lack of access to proper care has greater impacts on the health outcomes of transgender detainees because they are a uniquely vulnerable population. Transgender immigrant healthcare concerns are severely underrepresented both in research literature and public policy. This study aims to call attention to an in-need population and highlight policy change that will positively impact health outcomes for transgender detainees.

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