This comprehensive guide from the Transgender Law Center describes how transgender patients and community advocates have successfully organized for health care services at community clinics to meet the needs of transgender individuals.
According to a 2008 survey of 646 transgender individuals in California conducted by the Transgender Law Center, 30% of respondents postponed care due to disrespect or discrimination from health care clinicians and 42% of respondents postponed care because they could not afford the medical care they needed.
Transgender heath care is culturally appropriate primary care, including access to sex-specific and transition-related procedures. Like everyone, transgender and gender non-conforming people need access to quality primary care that encompasses health maintenance, disease prevention (such as screening for common conditions like cancer and diabetes), and diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses. Overall primary care also incorporates health promotion, risk reduction counseling and referrals for other health and social issues, including mental health services, housing, and employment. For many transgender and gender non-conforming people, access to sex-specific care and transition-related care are unique and critical elements of primary care. The American Medical Association has affirmed that transition-related care is a vital part of primary care for transgender people.
The guide includes four case studies of different types of organizing and advocacy that created or improved care for transgender patients at community clinics: by grassroots activists in Los Angeles, by a small group in Santa Clara, by an existing group in Alameda, and in a rural area in Humboldt. The guide also includes useful step-by-step tools as well as sample letters, workplans and other practical resources.