Review Article

Injustice to transsexual women in a hetero-normatie healthcare system

Douglas Newman-Valentine, Sinegugu Duma
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 6, No 1 | a574 | DOI: | © 2014 Douglas Newman-Valentine, Sinegugu Duma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 July 2013 | Published: 21 November 2014

About the author(s)

Douglas Newman-Valentine, Division of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Sinegugu Duma, Division of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Background: Transsexual women who are on the journey of sexual re-alignment will experience various health problems. These problems are related directly to the treatment regime that they are following in order to attain and maintain their physical embodiment as a woman. They are forced to negotiate a hetero-normative healthcare system in order to receive assistance and care for their health problems related to their sexual re-alignment process.

Aim: The questions posed were: What are the unique health problems that transsexual women experience whilst on the journey of sexual re-alignment? What is the current context of the South African healthcare system in which transsexual women should negotiate healthcare? These questions were asked in order to explore the health problems with which transsexual women are faced and to describe the hetero-normative healthcare system in South Africa.

Method: An electronic literature search was executed via the EBSCO host with specifi inclusion and exclusion criteria. The search words that were used were: Transsexual/s and Health/Healthcare. All studies had to be peer reviewed and published in the English language, from January 1972 up until February 2013. Literature on transsexual children was excluded.

Results: Transsexual women have the potential to suffer signifiant side-effects from their sexual re-alignment treatment, including cardio-vascular problems, endocrine problems and mental ill-health. They are also vulnerable to HIV infection. They have poor access to quality holistic healthcare and this may lead an increase in the mortality and morbidity fiures of women.

Conclusion: A hetero-normative healthcare system has a negative impact on the health of transsexual women and will cause them to be marginalised. This could contribute to both homoand trans-phobia that will in turn strengthen the belief that transsexual women are un-African.


Transsexual Women, Hetero-normative health care system.


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Crossref Citations

1. “I Get Fire Inside Me That Tells Me I’m Going to Defy.”: The Discursive Construction of Trans Masculinity in Cape Town, South Africa
esethu monakali, Dennis A. Francis
Men and Masculinities  vol: 25  issue: 1  first page: 3  year: 2022  
doi: 10.1177/1097184X20982025