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Chasing health

Trans health care is a difficult at the best of times, many Doctors are unaware of the general standards of care (WPATH) and how to apply them and so quite often just avoid addressing it. So when it comes to healthcare, trans people often turn to clinics known to be trans supportive.

This is why when clinics, such as the Wise Elephant Family Health Team in Brampton gets ordered to close, there is a disproportionate impact on trans patients. Their opportunities to find other supportive care options in a region become very restricted and they are often forced to seek options further away. For some patients that may be viable, but for others it may place care out of reach and cause enormous damage.

When I started seeking trans supportive health care, I simply assumed that I would need to seek it in Toronto. I was fortunate that I could easily do that, my timing was really great, and I found a Doctor who was not only taking patients, but was specifically taking trans patients. However the two things that continue to bother me are: I got lucky and I felt I had to go to Toronto.

The "I got lucky" front is actually a more general problem, many people seeking a family Doctor run into a challenge of finding ones taking patients. That this is a general problem simply further exacerbates the problem for trans people as, if we already have a general shortage of GPs, the list of those that understand trans needs is consequently substantially smaller.

That I felt I had to go to Toronto is indicative of the general problem of educating Doctors on the standards of trans health care. There are some great guidelines out there, but Doctors need to be aware of them and willing to follow them. A difficult combination at the best of times and made worse as you move further away from large urban centres. 

Depression, suicide, and other mental health issues often arise in trans people as a result of health care that feels out of reach for them. If you do not believe you can be helped, then where is the hope? We need to be better at preventing the conditions that lead to trans people chasing health. 

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