Many medical forms begin with two checkboxes, one of which the patient is required to tick: male or female. But millions of Americans don’t fit into this binary. Furthermore, this represents just a sliver of the bias, discrimination, and barriers to medical care that transgender people face.
There are many simple steps physicians can take to make their practice transgender-inclusive.
Along with other LGBTQ+ patients, trans people often navigate a medical system that is not equipped to provide adequate treatment. The setback begins in medical school, where transgender medicine is not often part of the curriculum, and continues into clinics and institutions, where physicians may be unprepared, uneducated, or consciously or unconsciously biased.
Change is coming, albeit slowly. In May, the Biden administration said it would reverse a Trump administration policy that removed gender identity from a section of the Affordable Care Act that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. By reversing that decision, the more than 1.7 million people in the United States who identify with a different gender from the one assigned to them at birth are now legally protected from discrimination by medical institutions that receive federal funding.
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