This may just be the only time I praise ACOG. I’m not a huge fan of the way they treat midwifery care and home birth, but this is good news for trans health. From my post at Feministing:
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has come out with a new statement for their members: it’s time to prepare to work with transgender patients.
“To address the significant health care disparities of transgender individuals and to improve their access to care, ob-gyns should prepare to provide routine treatment and screening or refer them to other physicians, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College). In a Committee Opinion published today, The College also states its opposition to gender identity discrimination and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender identity disorder treatment.”
Their statement specifically addresses the gynecological needs of transgender men, who may still require cervical and breast cancer screenings, as well as other gynecological (and even obstetric) care.
“We need to make our offices settings that treat all patients with respect,” said Dr. Buyers. The College offers ob-gyns suggestions on how to create an office environment that is welcoming to transgender patients. For instance, asking patients their preferred name and pronoun, posting non-discrimination policies, ensuring confidentiality, and offering sensitivity training for staff are all steps that signal acceptance and let patients know that they will be treated with dignity. “We want the transgender community to know that we, as ob-gyns, care about their health.”
I hope that their members follow this important advice.
While not a widely addressed topic, folks in the birth activist community are starting to address the needs of trans and gender non-conforming people in health care. The fact that ACOG has gotten on board shows just how far we’ve come. The advice ACOG provides for their members applies to us as doulas as well, and we’d go far by simply implementing some of their recommendations also.