Navigating health care in transition

Transitioning? Will your current physician continue to treat you? File Photo.

by Allison Blaylock
Transgender Advice Columnist

I'm ready to live as my authentic self, but I don't think my current physician will continue to treat me for general care once I begin to transition. I plan to start my hormones through Planned Parenthood, but need a new GP Doctor. What is the best way to find one?

Thanks,

"Anita"

 

Dear Anita,

I want to start by saying congratulations on your decision to move forward with your transition to living fulltime as your authentic self. It is never an easy choice to make. In a video I shot recently, one of my lines was, “that it takes strength to be yourself; it takes even more to be your authentic self.”

Choosing a GP that will work for you is always a struggle for the trans community. Depending on how your doctor sees the transition, it is something that can crumble the doctor/patient bond. I honestly don’t see why they would not continue to see you for your general medical needs.

When I was in Oklahoma, I asked my GP if she would do the hormones for me. She said that she would not be able to do so as she does not have the knowledge for this. She did say that she would find me a doctor.

Unfortunately, I was going to be losing my insurance and I wanted to try to bring her into my transition, especially since she had been my GP for the past 11 years.

Finding a GP that will work for you of course means finding someone that is going to treat you as a patient, not as anything else. When you go through the selection process, there is nothing wrong with calling a doctor’s office and asking questions. These could be, “Do you have a problem with the care of a transgender individual?” and, “Are you aware of any problems within your practice in the way transgender individuals are treated?”

I would also bring to their attention that you are not seeking hormone therapy through them as you have a different doctor that will be handling this aspect. You let them know that you need someone that is going to take care of you for all other aspects.

I also suggest that you keep an open line of communication between the GP and the doctors from Planned Parenthood. Do not be afraid of having your labs sent over to the GP as this will help with any future things that could arise in your general health. I would suggest you go through one of the federally funded health systems like a college system.

Since you are going to go full-time as your authentic self, I suggest you get your documents changed. This will help with your insurance companies as well as the doctor. When you have conflicts, there can be room for errors and that is the last thing you want to have when you have so much already going on.

I am hoping that this helps as I know that our medical health is important and nothing like having to deal with extra items as they come up. Keep your head up as things from time to time will look and be hard. It is those times that truly make us who we are.

Be a fighter. That means fighting for your proper health care if that’s necessary. Stay true to yourself and remember it takes even more strength to be the authentic you.

Alli

Copyright 2017 The Gayly - 7/20/2017 @ 8:03 a.m. CDT