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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Planned Parenthood of Illinois offers gender affirming hormone therapy
2019-10-23

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CHICAGO - Planned Parenthood of Illinois ( PPIL ) proudly offers gender affirming hormone therapy ( GAHT ) at all 17 locations across the state. PPIL GAHT services include comprehensive and ongoing medical care, psycho-social and emotional support, mental health assessments and case management. Since starting to offer GAHT services in 2016, PPIL has served over 1,200 patients.

"Planned Parenthood of Illinois health centers are a safe space for anyone seeking gender affirming hormone therapy," said Dr. Amy Whitaker, Medical Director and Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. "PPIL takes a client-centered approach to meet the individual needs of our patients. The trans and gender non-conforming community is largely underserved and we aim to fill the existing gap in care by providing compassionate, respectful care to genders across the spectrum. We feel this service is crucial because in many cases hormone therapy is providing a lifesaving service."

Gender identity, gender expression and sex assigned at birth are not always interchangeable. Sex assigned at birth is the male/female classification based on the external appearance of genitals. Gender identity is a personal sense of one's self and may range in the gender spectrum. Gender identity may be fluid and evolve or change over time. Gender expression is a person's external behaviors and characteristics on how they choose to present to the world.

PPIL services begin with an inital psychosocial intake appointment with an on-site licensed clinical social workers ( LCSW ) or Transgender Hormone Therapy Intake Coordinator. PPIL clinicians are specially trained in GATH using the informed consent model and following The World Professional Association for Transgender Health Inc. ( WPATH ) guidelines. PPIL discusses with a patient their physical transition goals, health history, pertinent physical examination, risk assessment, and relevant laboratory tests. Patients are made aware of the benefits, risks and alternatives of treatment. PPIL can communicate with a patient's other medical providers, mental health professionals, and surgeon. Finally, PPIL provides ongoing medical monitoring to monitor hormone effectiveness and side effects.

Minors age 16 and 17 may be seen at PPIL for gender affirming hormone therapy with parental consent from both parents/guardians with approval of a licensed mental health provider. All patients under the age of 18 must have a letter from an outside social worker or see one of the LCSW on staff here at PPIL prior to meeting with the clinician. The state of Illinois requires parental/guardian consent for patients under the age of 18 receiving health care unless the service is related reproductive/sexual health.

Additional services PPIL offers transitioning patients includes:

Helping with gender changes on their ID

Referrals to surgeon with proof of hormone therapy and lived experience as preferred gender

Coordinating and provider referral for trans-friendly care with known providers for voice therapy and electrolysis, laser therapy, waxing etc.

Knowledge of local support and advocacy groups or online communities

Family therapy or support-group for families

PPIL also provides family planning and pregnancy services for transgender patients including education and counseling for their future of fertility. It provides family planning and education based on the goal of the patient. PPIL takes a holistic approach to patient care with services available to ensure safe sexual health care.

—From a press release

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


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