November 20 marked the 20th anniversary of the annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honor and raise visibility of transgender people whose lives were lost because of anti-trans violence. Ending discrimination against trans people is an everyday task, though — one the UW Medicine Transgender and Gender Non-Binary (TGNB) Care program has turned into their mission.
The U.S. healthcare system has a history of discrimination against people from the LGBTQ+ community, particularly those who identify as transgender or non-binary. It’s a problem that persists today: Washington has the 11th highest TGNB population in the country, estimating 35,950 adults and youth who identify as trans or non-binary, of which 38% report having at least one negative healthcare experience related to their gender identity within the last year.
“As there has been more insurance coverage [for trans and non-binary people], which is all a side effect of the change in our cultural awareness, there has been a great deal of need becoming manifest about people requiring the care for both gender affirming care but also just access to general healthcare for all their medical conditions,” says Dr. Corinne Heinen, who specializes in LGBTQ+ care and directs the LGBTQ pathway for students in the UW School of Medicine.
The TGNB Health Program aims to address TGNB health disparities by creating a gender affirming environment across the UW Medicine network that ensures coordinated access to quality primary and specialty care. In working toward this vision, the TGNB program has educated over 3,000 clinicians, students and staff in gender awareness and TGNB health education; connected providers and patients to resources within the community; expanded access to TGNB medical and surgical services; and improved patient support in navigating barriers to TGNB care.
Since April of 2019, the TGNB Health Program has captured over 7,000 TGNB encounters across the UW Medicine network, a number anticipated to grow as sexual orientation and gender identity information is consistently collected and TGNB-specific healthcare is expanded.
Learn more about the Transgender and Gender Non-Binary Care Program.