Advocacy Key For Supporting Transgender Rights in Health Care Settings

Total Pharmacy JournalTotal Pharmacy February 2024
Volume 02
Issue 01

Advocates can amplify the voices of transgender patients as they overcome barriers to health care, said Molly Crowther in a conversation at the 2023 Healthcare Advocate Summit.

Navigating the health care system can be especially difficult for transgender patients, who have long lacked the kind of widespread advocacy and administrative support that other cisgender patients have.

Transgender patients must navigate a web of insurance roadblocks, satisfy treatment prerequisites, and abide by restrictive state legislation just for a chance to access essential care. In a conversation at the Healthcare Advocate Summit in September, Molly Crowther, CEO and founder of Crowther Healthcare Advocates, touched upon the importance of advocates and allies as they help support transgender patients in overcoming these obstacles.

“Historically, the trans community has had to provide so much advocacy for itself, so helping people access surgery, access drugs, access therapy–a lot of it was word of mouth…now we see patient advocacy becoming a bigger field, but there still isn’t a lot of help for transgender patients.”

Advocates, Crowther explained, play a critical role by amplifying the voices of transgender patients.

“It’s often hard for clinicians and patients to understand each other. There’s also a lot of medical trauma for transgender people dealing with the medical system in general, so we can help them with some of that emotional labor and [reduce their exposure] to trauma as they’re accessing care.”

Medical trauma accounts for just one factor that complicates the treatment process for transgender patients. Other roadblocks include stark legislation that deny patients health care based on their identity.

“States are making it legal for doctors not to provide you even emergency care if you’re transgender. And that’s terrifying…[I was looking at a map that discusses] the future of anti-trans laws in the next few years, [and] Florida is listed as a ‘do not travel’ state because of the inability to access even emergency medical care.”

Moving forward, Crowther emphasized the dual importance of educating both advocates on transgender health and educating transgender patients on the advocacy resources that are available to them.

“There’s a lot of education that needs to be done both for advocates to learn about transgender issues, but also for transgender people to understand that patient advocacy is a thing and is a thing that you can find help with.”

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