LGBT advocates issue guidance to hospitals for treating transgender patients

Published: November 5, 2013

A groundbreaking publication issued today will provide much-needed guidance to hospitals seeking to improve health care for transgender patients.

Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC Foundation) and the LGBT Rights Committee of the New York City Bar Association, with pro bono assistance from Hogan Lovells US, LLP, have jointly released the report.
“Lambda Legal’s Help Desk gets scores of calls from transgender people who are facing discrimination or being denied care when they need it. Transgender people face significant barriers to equal, consistent, and high-quality health care,” said Dru Levasseur, director of the Transgender Rights Project at Lambda Legal. “This first-ever guide to transgender-affirming hospital policies will reduce health disparities for transgender people and offer them truly equitable care.”
Added Shane Snowdon, director of HRC’s Health and Aging Program, “We know from our educational work with hospitals nationwide that many of them are eager to learn how to provide better care to transgender people. This publication gives them the just the information and tools they need to do right by their transgender patients.”
“This report represents the culmination of several years of work by the City Bar’s LGBT Rights Committee on the unique health care issues of transgender individuals, including its 2011 survey of several New York City area hospitals that highlighted the need for just such a best practices guide,” New York City Bar Association president Carey R. Dunne said.  “We are pleased to have partnered with Lambda Legal and HRC on this report, which we hope will be of great assistance to hospitals as they review their policies to better reflect the needs of their transgender patients.”
Lambda Legal’s landmark 2010 survey, When Health Care Isn’t Caring, showed that transgender and gender-nonconforming people experience discrimination in healthcare and barriers to care two to three times more often than lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
In fact, 19% of the 6,000-plus respondents in the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey reported having been refused health care outright because of their transgender status, while 28% had postponed necessary care when they were sick or injured and 33% had delayed or not sought preventive care because of prior health care discrimination. Rather than endure abuse and poor treatment, many transgender people go without care, endangering and worsening their health.

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