Transgender Discrimination In Medical Field

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 Throughout the world, there are certain prejudices and discriminations towards the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ community consists of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers. The group that I believe to have the most discrimination would be transgenders. This population is regularly discriminated against in the health care field and beyond. These individuals have specific healthcare needs and with the lack of access due to discrimination, it is more difficult to find a good affordable doctor who specializes in transgenders.

What was once called ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ is now known as ‘Gender Dysphoria’ in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders? Gender dysphoria is a condition in which an individual does not feel as if their sex assigned at birth matches their experienced gender. Those with gender dysphoria often come to identify as transgender, which means that they do not identify with their sex assigned at birth. Some people who are transgender wish to ‘transition,’ or to change their body in some or many ways to feel like they better fit the gender they are. More specifically if a transgender person wanted to undergo gender-affirming surgery it is more than just a top or bottom surgery, such as facial feminization surgery.

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Did you know that only 207 out of 636 healthcare companies gave transgender people coverage? That is less than 35% and is approximately only 1 in every 3 that are able to receive coverage. The price of gender-affirming surgery can vary depending on multiple factors. Money and pricing is only one aspect of surgery that trans people have to consider. Coming out and socially transitioning if they have not yet is another aspect. Transgender people need more support, socially, medically, and simply overall. Being transgender and transitioning is not always an option, however, because of the high costs related to hormonal treatment and surgeries and restrictions that force people to wait extended periods of time to medically transition. This is especially true for children and adolescents, who are under their parent’s and physician’s care and may not be able to make autonomous decisions regarding their bodies. A lack of control and disconnect within one’s body produces a vast array of mental and behavioral health issues. For transgender people, doctors that are not proficient in transgender health care issues are the biggest problem. Transgender people have limited access because many doctors do not have the knowledge to deal with transgender issues.

One solution is to teach about these topics in medical school. The most basic issues that should be discussed between a health care provider and a transgender patient are access to health care, hormones, and health history. There are many other issues that should be addressed, such as financial problems, discrimination, and other types of barriers. While there are laws in place to protect trans health rights, many doctors still will not treat people based on gender identity. While there is an emphasis on the treatment portion of medical school, there should also be classes on the history of discrimination in medicine as well as being culturally competent. I would hope that policies relating to discrimination that passed through the affordable care act would stay in place, though. For example, the ACA made it illegal to ban transition-related care within the coverage. The act also ensured that transgender people are not allowed to have their insurance status changed in any way due to identifying as trans. These rights to not be denied coverage should remain in place and be enforced. I also found through doing a little research that both Medicaid and Medicare cover transition-related costs that are deemed ‘medically necessary’ which I did not know! I was pleasantly surprised. I’m sure that denial of coverage still occurs, but the fact that legally this denial is prohibited is a step in the right direction. This means that individuals are important in the way that they acts. This can mean that transgender individuals can have a much more positive life experience if their network is filled with people who validate their gender identity rather than question it. This is why it is so difficult for transgender people to live with family members that invalidate their identities. It also affects people at an individual level. If one has a better relationship with others, their personal health habits are more likely to be positively affected.


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