Transgender people continue to face discrimination in the workplace, schools, and when traveling. Here we look at transgender issues in healthcare.
One-third of transgender individuals report being denied medical care or being harassed by medical experts as they are transgender. The survey, which was conducted by National Center for Transgender Equality back in 2015, saw more than 27,000 transgender people surveyed, with respondents coming from all the 50 states in the United States.
The mistreatment type could be why more than a quarter of the transgender people surveyed claimed they never bother going to the doctor.
Zander Keig, a Latino activist and trans man who attempted suicide two times when he was a teenager and spent close to 12 months in the adolescent psychiatric hospital, reveals he struggled a lot to get a healthcare provider while transitioning. Zander revealed that he was shuffled by female providers who were hesitant to handle his case. Some of them treated him with disrespect until he opted to file a complaint with the medical school that oversaw the clinic she went to. Zander claims the entire experience left him completely dejected.
Below are some of the transgender issues in Healthcare
Transgender Issues in Healthcare – High Cost of Care
Most of those surveyed by the National Center for Transgender Equality revealed they opted to skip getting medical care due to the high cost. Despite having insurance, transition services of transgender people are at times not covered at all. With this, most transgender patients are always on the hook and have to pay thousands of dollars.
Transitioning in transgender people comprises hormone replacement therapy. For instance, to promote changes in voice quality, facial hair, or body muscle mass, most transgender people go for hormone replacement therapy and never pursue surgical transitional treatment methods like augmentation or breast removal.
If you have insurance and are being denied transition care coverage, you can always appeal that decision with your insurer.
Lyra Menolloy Smith, a transgender female who got her first doctor’s appointment after living on the San Francisco and Asheville, N.C. streets for over a decade, finally got the courage to walk through the doors of her apartment recently. Ritter Center, a local community organization, helped her secure housing.
“Having a door I can always lock and don’t have to worry about someone kicking it and having me arrested is a high level of security I lived long without,” revealed Smith.
“Most of the transgender individuals end up being homeless by force or voluntarily when very young before they create an educational or financial safety net,” claimed Mark Shotwell, Ritter Center Executive director. That is what exactly happened to Smith. She was raped at the age of 16 and thrown out of her house. Smith reveals she went home and got all her belongings piled up in the yard. She only took what she could carry and slept on the bathroom floor of an abandoned gas station.
Less Access to Professional Practitioners
According to William Powers, a specialist in transgender healthcare, he never received any special training in transgender medicine when he was a medical student. However, he was able to teach himself after meeting and interacting with patients over the years. He reveals that currently, his practice has more than 1000 transgender people while another 1000 are on the waitlist.
William revealed that he had lots of trouble getting a job as a medical practitioner when he was already looking after 50 transgender patients as there was no one willing to hire him. If anyone was willing to hire him, they would not let him bring his patients claiming they would find it difficult to deal with their insurances or claimed that managing transgender individuals was too difficult.
Powers recalls being told they don’t want to have those people at the lobby.
Powers’s wife, who is also a physician, did receive several calls to be interviewed. Getting a self-trained physician like Powers can be very difficult. Most trained doctors are never comfortable treating transgender individuals since they have possibly never interacted with a transgender individual before.
An American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists survey conducted in 2018 revealed that up to three-quarters of clinicians claimed they had never interacted with a transgender individual. Despite 86% of the physicians claiming they were ready to offer transgender care, only two-thirds of the physicians said they would willingly do so if they had received education for that.
“A huge number of physicians who declined to take care of transgender patients blamed it on lack of training,” according to Safer at Mount Sinai. The 2020 survey that involved 138 medical students revealed that even 50% of training on handling transgender patients would have a huge impact.
A huge number of medical students are today being introduced to transgender issues in healthcare. According to American Medical Colleges Association, up to two-thirds of medical schools in the United States have integrated some transgender training in medicine.
Transgender Issues in Healthcare – Federal protections and Weak State
Recently, HH came up with a rule that, About the Commonwealth Fund, there will never be a guarantee that transgender individuals will receive the same access to medical care, consistent with their gender identity. According to the HH, this move is likely to save up to $ 2.9 million.
According to the agency’s estimate, the rule change will allow at least half or more than 137,000 insurance firms, doctor offices, health centers, hospitals, and state Medicaid agencies in the entire United States to forego honoring their initial protections provided to transgender patients. However, this new rule is being challenged in most of the states across the US.
At least 20 states, including Michigan, California, Minnesota, and Colorado, protect transgender patients from undergoing any form of discrimination while undergoing medical care. There are states like Pennsylvania that lack laws offering clear protection across cities as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh do.
“Regardless of what the current administration says, state and federal laws and in other cases the US constitution does not entertain any form of discrimination in insurance and healthcare just because you are transgender,” according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.