Transgender Patients in Rural Areas Struggle To Access Health Services
Transgender individuals in California often face challenges accessing health care services in rural areas, HealthyCal reports.
Axil Cricchio -- a social science professor at California State University-Monterey Bay and a transgender man -- said that even though most health care services sought by transgender patients are no different from those sought by other patients, transgender individuals still face significant discrimination from health care providers.
Cricchio said, "The stress of visiting a health care provider who is not aware of transgender issues can keep transgender people from seeking any heath care needs for fear of being outed or mistreated at health facilities."
The 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that discrimination by health care providersÂ is especially bad for Latino transgender individuals.
The survey foundÂ that 23% of Latino transgender residents reported being refused health care services because of bias. According to the survey, 36% of Latino transgender residents said they had delayed going to a physician for a medical problem because they were afraid of discrimination.
Transgender Needs Largely Unmet in Rural Communities
Observers say that transgender individuals often struggle to have their health care needs met in rural regions, such as Monterey County.
Jennifer Hastings -- a family physician who started a Transgender Health Care Program at the Westside Planned Parenthood in Santa Cruz in 2005 -- said, "I do think in Monterey County, like in most areas, the needs of transgenderÂ people are not well-recognized."
Stephen Braveman -- a gender specialist and sex therapist in Monterey -- said, "A problem we have in this county is ignorance and an unwillingness to learn by health care providers."
HealthyCal reports that transgender individuals in Monterey County who want to visit a physician trained to work with transgender patients must travel to cities such as Santa Cruz, San Francisco or San Luis Obispo.
Hastings said that health care providers must receive more education about transgender patients. She said, "My sense is that we will have more training in medical schools," adding, "It will get better."Roselyn Macias -- a transgender woman who is considering seeking a degree as a medical assistant -- said more transgender individuals should enter the health care system. Marcias said that transgender individuals are "not going to be afraid" to see a physician if they see more people like themselves providing health care services (Moser, HealthyCal, 2/12). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.