Planned Parenthood Expands Transgender Health Services

Planned-Parenthood-logoBy Marie Gibson and Skye Frome

At Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, we believe that all people deserve the highest quality of affordable, nonjudgmental health care no matter who they are and where they live — no matter what — and that’s what we provide each and every day. Our doors are open to everyone regardless of their race, income, geography, citizenship status or gender identity.

Across Oregon and Southwest Washington, people come to us because they know they will be cared for compassionately and confidentially. We replace fear with facts, and misinformation with education.

We know that transgender and gender-nonconforming people face barriers and challenges when accessing health care in a safe environment. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that PPCW now offers transgender hormone provision for people 18 and older, in addition to the preventive care we’ve always offered.

Hormone provision appointments initially will be offered at our Northeast Portland Health Center, with hopes of future expansion to our other health centers in Milwaukie-Oak Grove, Beaverton, Salem, Bend and Vancouver, Wash.

As long as we’ve worked at Planned Parenthood, we’ve always provided services to people who are transgender. People still get yeast infections, people still need birth control, and people still need testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases — no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We work with every type of body. No exclusions.

By offering hormone provision to our transgender patients, we are doing our part to make things right for a community that has been let down by the healthcare industry for far too long. Meeting the needs of all of our patients is so rewarding and fulfilling, and we’re excited to expand our services to meet the needs of another population that needs our help.

Transgender people, like everyone else, have a fundamental need for quality health care, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The unfortunate reality is that not all healthcare providers have knowledge and understanding of transgender identities, so transgender people can encounter numerous obstacles to obtaining healthcare. From filling out forms, to the language used in the waiting room, to insurance coverage, to staff understanding of transgender identities, healthcare environments can be really unwelcoming to transgender patients.

While Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette is new to providing hormone provision for the transgender community, many other health centers across the country have been providing transgender hormone provision for many years, so we have a solid model to follow. As part of our commitment to community engagement, staff members have been connecting with transgender community members, LGBTQ-serving organizations and other healthcare providers to ensure that the services offered meet the diverse needs of the community.

Everyone has their own goal in terms of the type of care they want, so Planned Parenthood adheres to strict guidelines and has our patient’s best interest and safety as the focal point. We strongly believe in an informed consent model of care. For example, we routinely ask patients, “In terms of the care you’re receiving, do you feel like you are where you want to be physically with your body and emotionally with your identity?” If not, we adjust and adapt to provide individualized care that is right for that person. At the same time, especially with this type of care, we understand that personal health care is ever-evolving based on what people need and what.

Best of all, your hormones will not be held hostage because of lack of funds. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance plans are no longer able to deny you coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Thousands of people are getting insurance for the first time, and Planned Parenthood will continue to provide quality health care — whether or not you have insurance. If you don’t have insurance, we can help you sign up for a plan that includes us as a provider.

At Planned Parenthood, we have a strong passion for providing the full spectrum of sexual health care. We are committed to improving the way transgender people receive health care in our region. Easy, accessible and affordable health care for every type of body — regardless of financial or social situation — is our philosophy for health care. Our goal every day is to make each person who comes through our doors feel welcome, comfortable and cared for while providing the best possible care.

Marie Gibson and Skye Frome serve as clinicians at Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, the largest nonprofit provider of sexual and reproductive health care and youth education programs in Oregon and Southwest Washington. For more information on transgender hormone provision, or to find a health center near you, visit PPCW.org.