Transgender Healthcare: Why Finding an Adequate Doctor Is Still a Hurdle

After James Parker Sheffield medically transitioned six years ago — requiring hormone replacement therapy and chest reconstructive surgery — he faced major challenges in getting adequate healthcare.

Despite the recent attention paid to transgender rights across the globe, Sheffield’s story is an all too common reminder that there still remains a dearth of proper information by and for healthcare professionals. That is the focus of a series of special articles on transgender health published this week by medical journal The Lancet. The collection of studies and editorials highlights the significant health inequities — both social and legal — that the transgender community of an estimated 25 million people across the world faces.

“The only way to combat stigma in healthcare is to train young physicians properly,” said Dr. Dana Beyer, who teaches at Georgetown and is the executive director for Gender Rights Maryland. “Now that there is growing insurance coverage, there is a developing phenomenon of gender clinics across the United States. Young physicians notice that, read about trans people in the news, recognize there is a need, and are willing to train.”

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