Gynecologists told to prepare to treat transgender patients

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.

I have criticized ACOG in the past for their policies regarding home birth and midwifery care, but this statement is really good news and an important step for transgender health care.

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.

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