Planned Parenthood now provides specialized healthcare services for transgender residents of Ohio and could entice more patients from beyond state borders.
Gender-affirming hormone therapy is now available at four local health centers, according to a recent release by Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio. The new services, which were implemented in late 2020, have since been utilized by 39 patients across southwest Ohio.
The decision to offer more personalized care to transgender patients was inspired by recent research into how LGBTQ+ communities—especially those in the transgender community—can be underserved or discriminated against in a healthcare setting.
The LGBT Movement Advancement Project currently scores Ohio low in sexuality- and gender-based equality when it comes to policy protection. In addition, Ohio’s 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey reported 25% of respondents experienced a problem in the past year with their health insurance related to their being transgender, and 32% of those who saw a health care provider in the past year reported having at least one negative experience related to their being transgender.
According to Planned Parenthood, access to gender-affirming hormone therapy breaks down existing barriers that prevent transgender patients from receiving proper care.
“We have been working toward providing this service to our patients for a couple of years as we know that, despite there being wonderful providers already offering this care, there is still a need to bridge the gap for those who have been left out of representation in health care,” says Sharon Liner, M.D., medical director of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio, in the release.
“We are seeing confirmation through patient response that our work is already having a positive impact for our community and beyond,” Liner says.
A few transgender people shared their experience with Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio in the release.
"They made the process extremely easy and made sure I understood everything about the process and changes,” says one transgender patient, who received gender-affirming hormone therapy at Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio. “They didn't talk to me like I was unsure and they did not make me second guess."
According to the press release, this kind of care “couldn’t have come at a better time” for 60-year-old Andie Hock, an advocate for southwest Ohio’s LGBTQ+ community and a trans person.
“I was so excited to hear [about the launch] because I know so many people are in need of more options. We have a few providers, but there is so much room to grow before we say there’s sufficient amount of access,” Hock says in the release.
According to Hock, many transgender patients do not feel comfortable in a healthcare setting due to fear of mistreatment and the feeling of exposure. Hock says Planned Parenthood’s launch of its new services will help many transgender Ohio residents.
“Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio is making a great effort to personalize the care they are offering, which is the beginning of eliminating barriers to care for trans people,” says Hock.