When it comes to health care, everyone deserves competent and inclusive care. For transgender individuals, that could not be more important. So, what exactly is transgender health care?
Read on to learn about transgender health care, their health needs, and how to get trans health services.
Transgender people have the same health needs as cis-gendered people. In addition to the same health needs as everyone else, trans folks have some needs related to their transition and identity. This includes health services like:
Aside from these specific services, trans people also need providers who are competent in understanding trans health needs and trans identities. It's important providers not only embrace and accept trans folks, but are also well-trained in understanding specific health needs.
The "T" in LGBTQ+ stands for transgender. Transgender means someone whose gender identity and/or expression does not correlate to the gender they were assigned to at birth. In turn, there are trans women (male to female) and trans men (female to male).
However, it's important to note that the transgender identity is incredibly varied and encompasses many different kinds of identities. Some people think of transgender as an umbrella category, that includes--but isn't limited to-- the following identities:
There is no one way or right way to be trans. Every transgender identity is valid--and should be treated in that manner. There is also no right or wrong way to transition, whether someone decides to undergo gender-affirming surgery or not. If someone in your life is transitioning, you can learn how to support someone transitioning here.
Many people confuse gender identity and sexual orientation for being the same. They are not. Gender is how an individual identifies themselves, and sexual orientation indicates what gender they are attracted to.
A person's gender has been traditionally used to describe the norms and roles of males and females. This is what we call the gender binary, and it operates under the assumption that there are only two genders: male or female. With this gender binary, there is also an established definition of what is considered masculine and feminine. For example, many people associate blue with boys and pink with girls.
If you are cisgender, this means you identify with the gender you were assigned to at birth. However, it's important to know gender is a construct, and many people do not identify as male or female. Gender is something people define and chose to identify on their own terms, and isn't dictated by how a person looks.
When it comes to primary care, the services provided are the same to everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the major difference in providing trans-inclusive primary care is that providers are trained, educated, and informed of the specific needs of the trans community. This means it is essential medical professionals provide gender-affirming care and hold a safe space for their trans patients.
In addition to general primary care services, trans patients may also want or need services like:
It's also important to note that reproductive health is equally important for trans individuals. This includes:
One of the top health services for trans folks is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While not every trans person decides to transition using HRT, it is an important medical option. Read on to learn about HRT and the different HRT options.
Hormone replacement therapy is a medical process in which individuals can physically change their bodies, with hormones, to better match their gender identity. There are two kinds of HRT:
Every trans and GNC experience is different--and so are their choices, desires, and needs to start HRT. For many trans folks, HRT can greatly improve their quality of life by:
HRT can help trans folks be their true selves and life their best life--something that everyone deserves.
Another medical option for trans and GNC folks is gender-affirming surgery (also known as gender reassignment surgery).
Gender affirming surgery is surgical procedures that help trans and GNC individuals transition so their physical appearance and gender identity are aligned. The most popular gender-affirming surgeries are referred to as "Top Surgery" and "Bottom Surgery." However, there are many other gender-affirming surgeries available. Here's a breakdown of the different top and bottom gender-affirming surgeries:
In addition, there are many other gender-affirming surgeries available to trans and GNC folks:
In order to undergo gender-affirming surgery, there are several requirements before doing so. Please note the list below is a general list of requirements, and each provider or insurance may have additional or different requirements and recommendations:
In addition to HRT and gender-affirming surgeries, legal name change and gender marker is another important aspect of a trans person's transition. While each state may have different policies and procedures in doing so, The National Center for Trans Equality has outlined the steps needed:
You can learn more about the legal name change process here. Additionally, there are many organizations, like Apicha CHC, that assist clients and patients with legal name change and document updating.
It's no secret that trans folks face numerous barriers to health care and services. Trans folks not only face discrimination, stigma, and violence in their public and personal life--they experience it in medical settings, too.
According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which surveyed more than 6,000 transgender individuals, 28% of trans people report being harassed in medical settings alone. Of those surveyed, 19% report being denied care and 2% reported being physically attacked in a medical setting.
Additionally, 50% of transgender individuals surveyed have had to educate their health care providers on their identities. About 1 in 4 trans individuals say they delay medical care in fear of discrimination — and that fear is warranted, as almost 20% of trans patients have been refused care by medical professionals.
Discrimination, stigma, and violence are all significant barriers to care for trans folks. Sometimes, trans folks won't seek medical services out of fear of discrimination. There are also other barriers to care that need to be recognized:
You can read more about the barriers and challenges trans individuals face here.
It's important that everyone understands and is aware of these challenging barriers for trans folks. Bringing awareness to these barriers can help diffuse them and spur legal and social change--and encourage acceptance and love.
At Apicha CHC, we understand how important it is to provide gender-affirming, inclusive, and competent care for trans and GNC individuals. Our Transgender Health Clinic does everything it can to overcome health barriers and provide our patients with everything they need to get everyday primary care, and services to help them transition.
Apicha CHC provides comprehensive primary care to address the distinct needs of trans and GNC individuals. Our Transgender Health services include:
If you're interested in medical care, click here to request an appointment at Apicha CHC today.
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