This morning, The New York Times released an article highlighting the challenges the transgender community faces at hospitals across the nation.
The article spotlighted HRC’s own Beck Bailey, Deputy Director of Employee Engagement for HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program, a transgender man who was in a ski accident last year in Vermont.
“As part of his normal routine, Mr. Bailey gives himself regular shots of testosterone. But the endocrinologist on duty in Vermont told him that patients should not take testosterone post surgery,” The New York Times wrote. “Mr. Bailey explained that he couldn’t just stop his hormone treatment. But the doctors were so resistant that he finally had them call his primary care physician, who explained he should resume his usual protocol.”
Transgender people face can face an exceptional degree of anxiety and bias in healthcare. A large survey by Lambda Legal revealed that 70 percent of transgender respondents had experienced serious discrimination in healthcare. In a 2011 survey of over 6,000 transgender Americans, 19 percent of the respondents reported being refused healthcare due to their transgender or gender-nonconforming status, with an additional 28 percent having postponed necessary healthcare when sick or injured, and 33 percent having delayed or not sought preventative care because of experiences of healthcare discrimination based on their transgender status.
“I don’t expect every doctor in the world to become an expert in trans medicine, but I do think they should be knowledgeable enough to know what they don’t know and pick up the phone and call an expert,” Bailey told The New York Times.
In addition to working towards workplace equality, HRC Foundation releases annually the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), which is the national LGBT benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBT patients, visitors and employees.
“I’ve been telling hospitals that they really need to think about this and adopt some policies proactively,” Tari Hanneman, deputy director of the Health and Aging Program at HRC Foundation, said. “The first time you think about where you are going to put a transgender patient should not be when they arrive.”