On my request for questions last week, Dearlilyjune asked:
Studies show that transgendered patients often avoid going to the doctor when they should. Is there a way you would reach out to/encourage that demographic?
Here is the thing, and I am going to be very open here, I would not know the first thing about specifically reaching transgender patients and recruiting them into my practice. I wish I could write some erudite treatise or share some story of compassion that would wow everyone of you but I cannot.
I don’t try to recruit any particular types of patients, however I will treat anyone and everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle.
The first time I encountered a transgender patient was in residency and truthfully, I sucked at it. No training, no experience. I had grown up sheltered from anything and everything. And to be honest, I thought that I would never meet anyone who was transgender. What are the odds, you know? What so many forget, and what I did not realize at the time as I was just starting out, is that the world is full of “alternative” lifestyles. Just because you don’t see it does not mean it isn’t happening. I am privileged to know a lot of secrets and I can assure you that the world is not full of just plain vanilla. Oh, no. Very little vanilla, in fact….
What I have figured out over the years is this (and these rules apply across the board for all patients): Be respectful. Make clear you are not judging. Ensure your staff keeps their professionalism.
Too often transgender men and women are treated as circus freaks. I have witnessed it. That would certainly keep me from seeking help as a patient and it is not the type of medical practice I want to be a part of.
The bottom line is that all people deserve respectful, compassionate medical care.
No matter what.