Tips For Those Seeking Affirming Trans Healthcare

Unfortunately when you identify as trans, finding gender-affirming healthcare is not always as easy as you'd hope. There are plenty of doctors and medical practices that offer gender-affirming care for trans individuals, so the trick is finding one that fits your preferences and personality. Start by following these tips.

Ask your friends for referrals.

If you have other friends who are trans or who are also members of the LGBTQIA+ community, then ask them who they use as a healthcare provider. Then, ask how they like that practice and the specific practitioners within the practice. Listen closely to their responses. Do the qualities they list as positives also appeal to you? If you are able to get descriptions or reviews of several healthcare providers from your friends, then you can make an appointment with one who sounds like their services are most in line with your needs.

Tell them you're trans when you're making an appointment.

It may feel a little strange to tell someone you're trans up-front, especially if you have only recently transitioned. But your doctor or future doctor is someone who needs to know about your gender identity for health reasons. If you feel reasonably comfortable doing so, share that you are trans when you call to make the initial appointment. Gauge the staff's reaction. Do they ask follow-up questions, address you by your preferred pronouns, and continue to treat you with respect? If so, this is a sign that will continue to be affirming when you show up in person for your appointment.

Be clear about your needs.

When seeking healthcare, it is often essential to be an advocate for yourself and your own needs. That rings true for cis and trans people, alike — although you may need to advocate a bit more often as a trans person. If you need something, ask — and give the provider a chance to address the need. For instance, if you need help removing a binder when changing for a procedure, ask. Or if the receptionist accidentally misgenders you, correct them and politely ask them to use the right pronouns. It's how they respond that matters.

If you seek recommendations from friends, are upfront about your gender and sexual identity, and ask for what you need, you should have an easier time finding transgender healthcare clinics in your area that offer affirming care. Good luck on your health journey.