How To Find Healthcare Providers Who Are Trans-Friendly

Finding a medical provider can be stressful, especially when you factor in things like insurance, costs, and specialties. It can be even more stressful for those who are transgender since healthcare is typically rife with discrimination and oppression within this community.

In fact, according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, about 33% of transgender respondents reported having a negative experience with a provider, and 23% said that they avoided going to the doctor when they needed to out of fear of being mistreated as a transgender person. In a 2019 survey of 450 oncologists published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, only 37% said they felt adequately trained to treat transgender patients (although most of the oncologists surveyed were non-Hispanic, heterosexual males).

Finding medical care is critical, especially for trans folks, who suffer significant health disparities, require medical interventions, and generally lack access to appropriate care (via Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity). How can you find out if a provider might be trans-friendly?

Tips for getting the care you deserve

The first way is to ask around — approach those you know who have experience with trans-friendly healthcare or contact a trans-specific support group (via Everyday Health). They might be able to recommend providers who have experience caring for those in the trans community. You can consult with trusted sources, like the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which has a database of providers. The Human Rights Campaign also publishes a Healthcare Equality Index, which includes criteria for nondiscrimination policies and support.

Once you take a leap and choose a provider, pay attention to how welcome you feel at the office. Are there any signs or brochures about LGBTQ+ health concerns, or have they shared a nondiscrimination statement? Do staff members respect your pronouns and name? It's also wise to see how inclusive their paperwork is. If the provider has more than two options for "male" or "female" on an intake form, it could be a sign that they think about and value inclusivity.

Make sure you speak up for yourself and ask the questions you need, and then see how the provider responds. If they seem open or confirm they feel confident treating you, they might be a good fit. Ultimately, trust your gut and don't settle for anything less than you deserve.