Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 062415 Contents soflagaynews // SouthFloridaGayNews // SFGN.com // 6.24.2015 // 15
The Fifth Annual
Many discussions at the Fifth Annual
Transgender Medical Symposium in Fort
Lauderdale focused on the difficulties that
transgender people face. These difficulties
include body image, discrimination, and
Body image may present the most
consistent challenge for trans people. Marilyn
Volker (Sexologist) reported that some
trans people buy male or female hormones
from street dealers. Dr. Joanne Keatley (The
Center for Excellence in Transgender Health)
stressed that medical providers should
accommodate their trans patient's need for
hormones. This would get these trans men
and women off street hormones. Keatley felt
that this could motivate transgender people
to stay in clinical trials.
Keatley reported that some transwomen
seek street plastic surgery in order to "pass"
as the opposite gender, or to further express
their gender identity. This street plastic
surgery seeks to augment tissue in the
breasts and buttocks with fillers. Pseudo-
"doctors" set up pumping parties to provide
pseudo-fillers. At these parties, they inject
transwomen with industrial grade silicone,
caulk, or even motor oil. Some people may
die on site. Eventually these pseudo-fillers
will shift to other areas of the body.
Keatley also reported problems with
data collection. The emphasis on using
electronic health records (EHRs) makes
this more critical. These records follow the
patient to different sites. Data entered in the
EHRs prompts the provider to ask certain
questions. The current standard input form,
however, lacks a way to input trans data.
Transwoman surgery leaves the prostate
intact. If no one has input her "trans" status
into the EHR, it will not prompt the provider
about a prostate exam. Sites can request a
form to collect transgender data for their site.
That data will not travel with the patient to
other sites. Transgender advocates are now
lobbying to have transgender data on the
standard input form of the EHRs.
In the Federal system, the Centers for
Disease Control (CDC) has the software to
collect transgender data. The CDC, however,
made collecting trans data optional. It also
failed to give guidance to the states on how to
collect trans data.
Keatley reported that discussion
about trans people focuses primarily on
transwomen. As a result, transmen become
While data collection refers to group level
data, medical care occurs at the individual
level. Multiple speakers at the symposium
emphasized asking at intake which pronouns
the patient prefers. They also recommended
noting this preference in the records.
Keatley emphasized that not all health
problems of trans people involve trans issues.
Health care providers should deal with the
issues important to the patient, unless the
patient requests a general checkup. Providers
should access the health of the current body
parts, but always respect patient's current
Keatley discussed the report, Injustice
at Every Turn. This report analyzed the
responses to a survey of transgenders. About
50 percent of the respondents had to educate
their providers about how to provide care.
Another 19 percent reported that health
providers had refused to provide care to
them. In addition to providers refusing care,
about 25 percent of respondents reported
harassment or disrespect in their health
Keatley reported that serious problems
occur in sex segregated secured facilities such
as prisons, jails, mental hospitals, and gender
specific bathrooms. According to the report
Injustice at Every Turn, among incarcerated
transgenders, 37 percent reported harassment
by staff, 35 percent reported harassment
by other inmates, and 15 percent reported
sexual assault. Almost all speakers reported
problems with gender specific bathrooms.
Social "bads" do not affect all transgender
people, equally. These social "bads" tend to
cluster among low-income, low-education,
African-American trans people.
Difficulties that trans people face Part II of III
For a much more detailed report on challenges that transgenders face read the report
Injustice at Every Turn, please visit http://bit.ly/1eCwFYv
Check SFGN next for the conclusion of this series.
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