[Chicago] Nov. 14-20 is Transgender Awareness Week, dedicated to educating people about the transgender community and raising awareness of the issues facing transgender and gender nonconforming people. Planned Parenthood of Illinois is taking this opportunity to remind everyone of the need for people of all gender identities to have access to inclusive, nonjudgmental, high-quality health care.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois started offering Cross Hormonal Therapy in September 2015 at two locations, and now offers the service at 11 of its 16 health centers across the state.
"Planned Parenthood of Illinois is proud to provide quality, compassionate health care to transgender individuals across the state," said Jennifer Welch, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. "Our services and programs are open to people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. 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."
Transgender people face many barriers and challenges when accessing health care. A 2015 national survey of transgender and gender nonconforming people found that:
- 33 percent of respondents reported having at least one negative experience with a health care provider in the past year related to being transgender, including verbal harassment, being refused treatment, or having to teach the health care provider about transgender people to receive appropriate care.
- 23 percent of respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to in the past year because of fear of being mistreated as a transgender person. American Indian ( 37 percent ) and Middle Eastern ( 34 percent ) respondents were more likely to not have gone to a provider due to fear of being mistreated.
- 33 percent of respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to in the past year because of cost. People of color, including multiracial ( 42 percent ), American Indian ( 41 percent ), Black ( 40 percent ), and Latino/a ( 37 percent ) respondents, were more likely to not have seen a doctor or other health care provider due to cost. People with disabilities ( 42 percent ) were also more likely to not have seen a health provider when they needed to because of cost.
- Respondents were living with HIV at nearly five times the rate in the U.S. population. HIV rates were higher among transgender women, especially transgender women of color.
- Seventy-eight percent ( 78 percent ) of respondents wanted to receive hormone therapy at some point in their life, but only 49 percent have ever received it.
The study also showed the devastating effects of anti-transgender and racial bias on transgender people of color. Black and Latino/a transgender people, also the target of most anti-transgender violence, face some of the worst instances of discrimination. For example, as of 2015, 14 percent of respondents reported having no health insurance; for Black transgender respondents, the number was 20 percent.
"As a member of the transgender community I am proud to work at a place where I can help other people live their best lives, and for many that means feeling safe and supported when accessing care," said Dana Garber, Planned Parenthood of Illinois Transgender Intake Specialist. "We are committed to improving the way transgender people receive health care in central Illinois, and our doors are open to everyone."
Planned Parenthood of Illinois's 16 health centers offer a wide variety of preventive health services, and more than 65,000 patients annually depend on Planned Parenthood of Illinois for quality, affordable health care. Visit ppil.org to find the health center nearest you.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois ( PPIL ) provides affordably priced high-quality reproductive health care services to women, teens and men throughout Illinois. Through health care services, educational programs and advocacy efforts, PPIL works to ensure and protect the reproductive health and rights of each individual. For more information, visit www.ppil.org