Transgender Rights and Health Report Points to Progress, Gaps in Asia-Pacific

The health and human rights of transgender people in the Asia-Pacific region are highlighted in a new report released 8 October by the Asia-Pacific Transgender Network. The “Blueprint for the Provision of Comprehensive Care for Trans People and Trans Communities in Asia and the Pacific” points to the significant barriers transgender people face, highlights important progress in some countries, and calls for sustained efforts to improve the legal and social status of transgender people across the region.

In all but a handful of countries in the region, transgender people lack access to basic healthcare, including HIV services. There is even less access to publicly funded gender-affirming health services required by those who wish to medically transition. Trans people face high levels of violence and discrimination, and criminalisation (under laws prohibiting “cross-dressing” and sex work and through targeted harassment under public nuisance or vagrancy offences). Conversely, transgender people in this region have extremely limited protection under anti-discrimination laws or policies, and the majority have no legal recognition of their gender identity.
Furthermore, transgender people experience high and chronic levels of stress linked to such social exclusion. This includes disproportionately low emotional wellness and poor mental health, resulting in relatively high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation and behaviour. Social stigma limits transgender people’s access to appropriate and sensitive mental healthcare. Health providers may also be stigmatized by their professional colleagues for providing health services to transgender people. They may lack resources, knowledge, or the necessary experience to fully meet the health needs of transgender people. 

The Blueprint provides information about the current health and human rights situation for transgender people in Asia and the Pacific with the aim of  becoming a central reference document for transgender community advocates, health professionals, policymakers, and those who design or deliver services to transgender people.

The Blueprint was developed as a partnership between APTN, UNDP, and the USAID- and PEPFAR-funded Health Policy Project. The Pacific Sexual Diversity Network was involved in the process to ensure that the voices and experiences of Pacific trans people are visible, alongside those of trans women, trans men and third gender people from all parts of Asia.

APTN will document how people use the Blueprint and any progress achieved on the policy considerations listed in the report. Please visit their website, The Asia Pacific Trans Health Blueprint in Action, to report how the document is being used in your community advocacy.


“This Blueprint builds the case for changing laws, policies, and practices so that trans people are able to participate fully in every country and community across this region. Trans peoples s human rights, including the right to health, have been cemented by multiple international bodies. It’s time for governments to make these rights a reality.”

Joe Wong, Programme Manager, Asia Pacific Transgender Network

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