How To Find Affirming Healthcare as a Transgender or Gender Non-Confirming Person

If you’re reading this, you already know that Transgender, Non-binary, Genderqueer, and Agender people have too few options for affirming healthcare. The experiences of our transgender community (and research) tell us just how prevalent deadnaming is, the rates of healthcare providers unwilling to even provide routine services is, and the detrimental impacts of unseen cis-normativity in the healthcare community.

As a trans, genderqueer, or nonbinary individual (or the parent of a gender creative child), you have options. Let’s outline some ways you can find the competent care you deserve.

Telehealth and Telemedicine For Transgender People

Expand your search for care to include virtual providers. With the pandemic easing telemedicine and telehealth regulations, you can now access primary care doctors and therapists who are licensed anywhere in your state. That gives you more options than just those located in your city or town and you may be pleasantly surprised to find trans-competent providers, especially in and around major cities.

To find gender-affirming, trans-competent providers, talk to your friends, call your local LGBTQ Center, or use specific search terms when searching the internet for a provider.

Many providers offer a brief, free consult before booking with them. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask questions about their approach to gender, their experience working with trans and GNC patients, and their overall approach to (or philosophy of) patient care. You can learn a lot from a 15 minute call or video chat and you'll have more information to make a decision that feels right for you.

Find a Queer Herbalist, Trans Herbalist or Health Counselor

Western herbalists and health counselors are generally allowed to work across state lines. (That’s why we at Spectrum Chinese Medicine can work with you, wherever you live!) Herbal medicine and health counseling can help you address a wide range of issues from mental and emotional health, sleep, managing side effects associated with gender-affirming hormone therapies, scar care, skin health, digestion, allergies, and more.

Queer and Trans herbalists and health counselors are much more likely to use your pronouns, call you by your name, and understand where you're coming from. They're experienced in aspects of herbal and nutritional care that others may not. This includes topics like the impact of phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen) on your hormones, sensitive or neutral ways to talk about body parts or functions that can feel triggering, issues around sex and intimate partnerships, and familiarity with mental health issues facing trans and genderqueer folks. And, perhaps most importantly, these practitioners can hold safer space for you to be exactly where you are, without fear of judgement or unnecessarily invasive questions.

Though seeing an herbalist or health counselor isn't a substitute for a primary care provider, it can be much easier to find a trans-friendly herbalist or health counselor. And regular care often means fewer visits to your doctor, who you may or may not feel completely comfortable with.

Chinese Medicine For Trans People

The beauty of Chinese Medicine is that our process involves looking at each individual’s body, mind, and social context. That means, we're not just interested in how you sleep or your energy levels, but also things like how you feel in your body, where you are in your gender journey, and how our work together can support you to inhabit your body in the most comfortable, easeful way possible.

A Chinese medicine practitioner or acupuncturist who is themselves Queer (hey!), trans, or genderqueer has a medicine system at their disposal that allows us to look beyond the gender binary, to the actual human being in-front of us. That means that we're not phased by gender non-conformity, issues around dysmorphia or gender-affirming treatments and will respect your boundaries about what you do and don't want to talk about vis a vis your care. We are able to utilize our tools to identify imbalances that any body could and does experience, gender aside.

Chinese medicine offers us various tools to understand what is happening for you. We look at your tongue (which we do virtually), ask what you’re experiencing, get a full history, and even ask about your family and social circumstances. With more than 3,000 years of recorded history, Chinese medicine has much to offer for common issues that folks of various genders encounter over the course of their lives.

And at Spectrum Chinese medicine, we offer acu-phototherapy as a painless, contactless way for you to tap into the power of Chinese medicine from the comfort and safety of your home. This is particularly helpful for people with mobility challenges or for folks who feels unsafe going into healthcare settings. We also offer western herbal medicine which we ship direct to your home. Every appointment includes "food as nourishment" guidance, body movement recommendations, and supplement ideas for a holistic, integrative approach to whatever you're going through.

If you're struggling to find gender-affirming care for yourself or your child, consider Spectrum Chinese Medicine as a place where you can bring all of yourself, wherever you are in your gender journey. We look forward to meeting you exactly where you're at.

You don't need to go at it alone.

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