In March, the Kind Clinic in Austin, Texas, launched a pilot program offering free and accessible gender-affirming care to the city’s transgender and gender nonconforming population.
At the time, the Kind Clinic was the first facility in Central Texas to offer a service that is often out of reach for transgender people. Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas followed suit a month later, offering gender-affirming hormone therapy at its North Austin Health Center, the second of its clinics in the state to do so.
The program at Planned Parenthood’s North Austin site has so far been a success, said clinician Heather Brand. “Patients have told us that they love the care we are providing, that we make them feel affirmed in their gender identity and safe in our care, and that they trust us as experts in the care we are providing them,” Brand told TheBody.com.
Discrimination, stigma and violence have a tremendous impact on a transgender person’s physical and mental health. Statistics have shown that abuse and harassment have kept transgender people from seeking medical care. Maltreatment has also contributed to exceedingly high rates of mental illness and suicide among the transgender population.
Advocates say that gender-affirming programs like the ones provided by the Kind Clinic and Planned Parenthood are vital to trans people’s wellbeing. Access to gender-affirming care allows transgender people to feel empowered, which benefits their mental and emotional health. And transgender people living with HIV who receive gender-affirming care are more likely to stay in treatment, which has massive implications for their overall wellbeing.
Read more on TheBody.com.