This week, November 13- 19, is Transgender Awareness Week - a time for transgender folx and their allies both in and outside the queer community to take action and bring attention to the community by educating the wider public about who transgender people are and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.
The Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of The National Discrimination Survey of transgender and gender nonconforming people from across the U.S. found that:
28% of respondents were subjected to harassment in medical settings and 2% were physically assaulted in doctor’s offices
21% of Black trans people and 23% of Latino/a trans people were refused care due to bias, with 19% overall having been refused medical care due to bias
50% had to “teach my provider” about basic transgender health
The week concludes on Nov. 20 with the Transgender Day of Remembrance that honors the memory of transgender individuals who were murdered in acts of anti-transgender violence that year.
Planned Parenthood’s services and programs are open to people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, and we are proud to provide quality, compassionate health care to transgender and gender nonconforming people. In addition, Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) proudly offers Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy at all 17 locations across the state - making it easier for people to access the care that they need without having to travel long distances. PPIL has over 1,250 hormone therapy patients, and of those patients two-thirds are from central and downstate Illinois.
When a patient inquires about hormone therapy there are a few easy steps to take to find the right care:
- The journey begins with an initial interview to find out about the patient’s current medications, support systems, and what their needs are/will be throughout the transition process. Patients then have a clinical appointment to get a family history and talk about the pros and cons of hormone therapy. Once patients are completely informed and sign a consent form, they are off to the races!
- Initially, patients will have scheduled appointments at regular intervals to get their hormones at the right levels. Once that’s established, patients can go up to a year in between visits for a check up. The goal is to get patients to where they want without undue health risks.
- The transition process can take anywhere from one to three years and incorporates not only the physical, hormonal changes, but lifestyle ones as well. It takes a while for the hormones to take effect and for people to learn how to live in their new identity. It also can take time for loved ones to adjust to the transition as well which is why PPIL has social workers on-hand to talk to or refer patients who need it.
- Throughout the process, PPIL offers a resource guide with links to counseling, vocal therapy, electrolisis, surgery, name and gender marker changes on documents. We walk you through it and are there for our patients every step of the way.
To get more information about PPIL’s gender affirming hormone therapy please visit www.ppil.org or call 1-800-230-7526.
In light of this week’s observations, it is important to remember that transgender folx come from all walks of life and should be celebrated, not only this week, but every week and every day. As an organization, PPIL continues to work on addressing issues facing the transgender community and naming the importance for people of all gender identities to have access to nonjudgmental, high-quality health care that affirms their dignity and identity.
While the visibility of transgender people is increasing in popular culture and daily life, the transgender community faces discrimination and violence throughout society be it by loved ones, education systems, the workplace, homeless shelters, medical professionals, and law enforcement officials. The compounded effects of racial bias and anti-transgender bias on Black and Latino/a transgender people is even greater.
This is why the care that we provide at PPIL is so critically important to us. We recognize that for many patients coming to us, it is because they were either not adequately supported or not supported at all by other institutions. To that end, PPIL is deeply committed to filling the gaps in care where we can and as they become apparent so as to best serve those in need.
Dana Garber is the Transgender Intake Coordinator and Community Educator at Planned Parenthood of Illinois