Life is not fair. But healthcare should be.
Equal rights are denied to transgender people across the US and around the world – from things as basic as using a bathroom to the fundamental right to claim their identity under the law. Healthcare is no different: as of 2015, 65% of transgender people reported not seeking medical care when they needed it, due to fears of discrimination.
We all took an oath at the start of medical school to “do no harm” with our primary purpose being to benefit our patients. But we are clearly missing the mark with our transgender patients.
Emily, a patient of mine, recounted some of her experiences interacting with medical providers. Her previous doctor told her, “I am willing to treat you for things like a cold or a broken bone – but only if you show up to my office dressed as a man.” Another doctor said he could recommend a specialist to “cure” her of being transgender. Many patients have told me similar stories. It should be no surprise, then, that 65% of transgender patients do not seek care when they should, even when they may be critically ill.
I am starting QueerMed to provide respectful and affirming care to the transgender community. Everyone deserves access to medical care, no matter the color of their skin, where they come from, their gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
I hope to change the way the medical profession views hormone therapy: not as an exotic treatment, but as routine primary care to correct a hormonal imbalance, just like having a low thyroid level or not enough Vitamin D.
Someday soon, I hope to go out of business because everyone can get the care they need from any Primary Care Physician, anywhere in the country.