It's hard being trans. It's even harder when you can't find a doctor. A new site hopes to fix that.
When 50% of trans people report having to educate their doctors on the basics of trans health care, there's a deeper problem.
In 2011, the first ever National Transgender Discrimination Survey results were published.
The National Center for Transgender Equality and National LGBT Task Force teamed up to put together what is, to date, one of the most comprehensive looks at how trans people experience discrimination.
It's the source of some of the more alarming statistics you hear about trans people. For instance, the finding that 41% of trans people have attempted suicide? That comes from this report.
In August, the center will begin collecting data for the survey's follow-up.
And while there's a lot of talk about physical violence and employment discrimination against trans people, there's one aspect you don't hear much about: health care.
Nearly 20% of survey respondents reported having been refused care because they're transgender. More than 25% reported being harassed in a doctor's office, and 50% had to actually educate their doctors on aspects of trans health care.
"I have been refused emergency room treatment even when delivered to the hospital by ambulance with numerous broken bones and wounds," says one survey respondent.
A group of four trans people have teamed up to provide a simple service: connect other folks with trans-friendly medical providers.
As a trans person, I can say that one of my biggest concerns when it comes to looking for a doctor is the worry that I'll be turned away or otherwise harassed.
And unfortunately, it's very hit or miss. There's really no way to know ahead of time how a medical provider will handle a trans patient. That's where MyTransHealth comes into play.
The team behind MyTransHealth is working to make health care more accessible by creating a database of trans-friendly medical providers around the country. The goal is to make finding a new doctor as easy as completing a few quick questions.
MyTransHealth plans to launch in two cities this fall, with more to follow.
The free service, which will initially be available in New York and Miami, works a bit like Yelp. Trans people will be able to submit medical professionals to the database and provide reviews. At the same time, the team behind the project plans to create materials to help educate the doctors who don't quite get it just yet.
"We're releasing in phases," co-founder Robyn Kanner told me in an e-mail. "First we need to work with the existing resources for the trans and gender non-conforming community and then look to our board of directors to develop training programs and educate additional doctors to provide competent care."
The team understands this is a pretty huge undertaking.
"We're trying to fix a big problem, and the best way to do this is to understand the landscape of the system, work within it, and help change it for the better," says Kanner.