At Apicha CHC, our trans patients matter, and their needs are important to us. In an effort to support and participate in Transgender Day of Visibility, we asked several of our own Trans/GNC staff to talk about their experiences and sentiments on trans health care.
What kind of obstacles do you think transgender folks face when receiving health care?
Nachale, Transgender & Gender Non-binary Health Advisor: Many trans people have been turned away from healthcare services generally because of their gender identities and expression. Misgendering is a common experience that trans people encounter at the healthcare facility and that experience alone could result to trans people not willing to revisit their healthcare providers. Another important obstacle I found from my experience working in the healthcare system is the complication to navigate a healthcare coverage for gender-affirming healthcare, which varies from one insurance to others; and a lack of understanding on the important of transitioning care for trans people in relation to their well-being.
Travis, Trans Health Patient Navigator: Having an unknowledgeable provider and having to educate them on the type of health care you need.
Shay, Trans Health Patient Navigator: Some obstacles transgender individuals can face in health care are being misgendered and addressed by their "dead" name. Many people of trans experience fear being "outed" in public locations and spaces they deem unsafe. Also in most cases when meeting with a health care professional you are asked personal questions that force you to address your body and its current state, making you feel discomfort and dysphoria.
What are the most important things you look for in a health care provider?
Shay: I look for a health care provider that has experience in Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). In the past, I experienced feeling like a "test subject" or "experiment" which resulted in me becoming violently ill due to my provider not being experienced in hormone treatment. I also look for a provider that identifies as a person form the LGBT+ community but this is not a "deal-breaker" for me personally.
Nachale: There are 3 aspects when I look for in a health care provider, including a provider's competency on trans health and trans people, trans specific services, and insurance coverage (or affordable services for undocumented trans people who cannot acquire a health insurance).
Travis: I look for an experienced provider. They don't have to be a part of the LGBT+ community, they just have to be knowledgeable about the needs of a transgender individual.
What are your biggest concerns regarding receiving health care?
Travis: My biggest concern is being limited to the health care I can receive.
Shay: My biggest concern is not receiving proper health care services.
Nachale: The biggest concern regarding receiving health care is a lack of knowledge and understanding about trans bodies, gender identities and expression, and their healthcare needs. With a lack of knowledge on trans people, healthcare services do not meet the needs of trans people.
What kind of stigma and stereotypes have you experienced, or think trans people experience?
Nachale: Trans people may be asked inappropriate questions based on their gender identities, expressions, and sexual orientations. Frequently, trans people are judged and disrespected by how they look and express themselves.
Shay: There are many stereotypes of people in general experience. Trans women are known to be entertainers or sex workers, and can be seen as uneducated and a danger to society's youth.
Travis: Trans folks are often misgendered because folks assume their gender identity.
How do you think transgender folks and allies can break stigmas against the trans community?
Nachale: Health professionals and allies can be very strong advocates for trans people and their community by the following actions:
- Listen and support trans health and well-being
- Be respectful to individuals and their needs
- Respect of human rights
- Educate themselves on issues faced by trans people and their community
- Be a part of positive change (e.g. provide healthcare services for trans people)
Shay: Ways to break stigma is to normalize people of trans experience in the media, as we know the media is an unmatched power to insight a variety of emotions.
Travis: Never assume a person's gender identity. Ask or use their name.
How Apicha CHC can help you
At Apicha CHC, we offer trans-specific services through our Trans Health Program. As part of this program we also offer primary care, short-term behavioral health services, care management resources, and referrals to specialists. If you're interested in scheduling an appointment, click the image below.